The Cincinnati Reds start the season next Thursday, but there are still a few players left to cut from the roster to get down to the required 25.
The pitching staff is likely set. As John Fay notes, there are only 12 healthy pitchers on the roster: Jose Arredondo, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Bill Bray, Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Francis, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Sam LeCure, Sean Marshall, and Logan Ondrusek.
The Reds almost always carry 12 pitchers, and I don’t think anyone expects 2012 to start off any differently. The only question is, “Who will fill what role?”
Arroyo, Cueto, Latos, and Leake are all locks for the rotation, with the fifth spot coming down to a decision between Bailey, Chapman, and Francis. I’d love to see Chapman make it, but if he doesn’t, the Reds should resist the urge to send him to the bullpen. He needs to start this year, and since it’s his last option year, this is his last chance to learn in the minors. If he makes the rotation, I’d expect both Bailey and Francis to join the bullpen.
As for the real remaining cuts, those will be among the 16 position players. Three have to go.
A lot of the roster is set. The final two spots for positions players will come down to Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier, Willie Harris, Paul Janish and Wilson Valdez. Francisco and Valdez are out of options.
The “out of options” rule says those players will get one last chance, so Francisco and Valdez are in. Paul Janish won’t make it, so it’s really down between Frazier and Harris. I’m hoping Frazier gets the nod.