While things could change as other teams place players on waivers, release guys, or possibly even trade guys – the Cincinnati Reds opening day 25-man roster seems to be set at this point in time. As the team headed off to Atlanta for it’s final two spring training games, there were only two spots seemingly up for grabs on the roster.

Prior the the final game of spring training the Cincinnati Reds essentially finalized their roster. The team decided to keep Robert Stephenson and Wandy Peralta in the bullpen. They sent reliever Matt Wisler to the minors – but he will have to clear waivers before he can head to Triple-A. Here’s what the roster looks like, as it stands today:


  1. Luis Castillo
  2. Sonny Gray
  3. Tanner Roark
  4. Anthony DeSclafani
  5. Tyler Mahle




You can nit-pick a move here or there on the roster. How the final few spots of the bullpen worked out can be looked at and have arguments made for them. The Nick Senzel decision is the other one that can and will be debated for a while. But the roster that is going to be in the dugout for Opening Day in 2019 is much stronger, and deeper than the one that was in the dugout for 2018 on Opening Day. Lest we forget that Phil Gosselin, Cliff Pennington, and Kevin Quackenbush were on the team out of spring training last year. And that a few days later they added Yovani Gallardo.

This spring the final spots on the roster came down to a left-handed reliever who didn’t allow a single run this spring who can throw 98 MPH (Peralta), and a former #1 draft pick and former top prospect who had no options remaining (Stephenson). It is a very stark difference in the quality of player that the team was choosing from in 2019 compared to 2018.

There will be a few players starting the season on the injured list. Alex Blandino is still recovering from ACL surgery from last July. Scooter Gennett will be out 2-3 months. Alex Wood will also begin the season on the injured list as he recovers from back spasms.

The Reds will need to add both Derek Dietrich and Jose Iglesias to the 40-man roster. The roster currently has 38 players on it. A roster spot opened up when Cincinnati traded away Connor Joe. Another spot was opened up when the team decided to place Matt Wisler on waivers.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

Related Posts

27 Responses

  1. Oldtimer

    I count eight MLB quality players added either by trades or free agent signings on this roster. Much improved SP rotation. Improved INF depth. Much improved OF. Most importantly MUCH IMPROVED (!) manager and coaching staff.

  2. DJ Day

    What role does Bob Steve fill? Mop up garbage man? Would he be next up in the rotation? I hate to give up on a young arm but what a huge disappointment he has been.

    • Gaffer

      What used to be called “long relief” but basically the guy who pitches 2 innings when you are behind by 5 or up by 8 runs.

    • Muddycleats

      Not sure, but he pitched well on Monday. Easy 2 see he trusts his slider – had several swinging strikes. Still has no trust n FB – flys open & tried 2 over throw every one. Kid still doesn’t understand pitching – wants 2 throw – not pitch 2 weak contact. Seems 2 have No idea how 2 set up hitters , slow down bats ?

      • Oldtimer

        ST games mean nothing (or less). Stephenson pitched 2 games and 3 IP. Small sample size.

  3. Doc

    I was curious about the Wisler decision. He was certainly excellent in ST, as were a good Stephenson and an outstanding Peralta. The one who was not excellent was Duke who, if I recall correctly, got shellacked in each of his last three outings, including today. I would have thought that keeping a promising young arm instead of a mid-30s veteran with a run per game ST ERA would have been better longer term but, admittedly, I watch the game for enjoyment and don’t have the eye for talent differences, other than on results.

    I’m sure the Reds have sound reasons but, unlike the Senzel situation, it is not clear what they might be.

      • Doc

        Despite ten times that many reasons they sat Bailey. There is always a time to cut bait in a game where personnel evaluations fail as often as not.

    • reaganspad

      I guessing he was seeing RH hitters more than he will be in the regular season

    • Wes

      I’ve always been a fan of duke since his days in Pittsburgh. When signed, I thought the reds over paid and over committed though. Moving forward hard to think Wisler won’t have the better career. But we shall see. Maybe reds get lucky and he clears waivers.

    • Alex Reds

      Totally agree Doc. I’ve been thinking this recently. It will be a repeat of the Gallardo issue from last year. Duke only made team due to the $2M. Reds made a major mistake and Duke on roster over a better and cost controlled player, and it will cost them games that matter. Duke should have been cut.

      • Jefferson Green

        If you look at numbers, Duke and Gallardo are not in the same category.
        Gallardo had an ERA (and xFIP) over 5.00 last year (and the previous 2 years). He had already demonstrated a track record of lack of success, which he sustained.
        Duke had an FIP of 3.01 and xFIP of 3.74 – even better against lefties whom he will face much of the time, and projects to an under 4.00 ERA for 2019. Zach is a better than average reliever who excels at getting left-handed hitters out. His spot on the roster, barring injury, was never in question.
        While young enough to perhaps figure things out, Wisler has been in the major league parts of four seasons and has a career ERA/xFIP around 5 and projects to be a slightly below average reliever for 2019. The Reds gambled that they could clear an important 40 man roster slot by DFA’ing him now, choosing another lefty, Peralta, in the calculation/gamble.

  4. Cguy

    The roster is set & the Reds begin play in less than 2 days. More importantly to us here at this site, Doug can now concentrate his time & expertise at covering the Reds minor league teams, including roster formations, rotations, & prospect promotions. I expect a very interesting season in the Reds minor leagues.

  5. Bill

    The fact that Senzel is injured should really end the debate. Neither Dietrich or Iglesias have been added to the 40-man roster yet–Senzel would not have been either. His injury ended any reasonable argument for promoting him (unless there is some sort of magic in Atlanta that would have prevented the injury if he were only traveling with the big league squad).

    • andybado

      The question merely shifts from: what do the Reds do with Senzel after 2 weeks to what do the Reds do with Senzel when he’s healthy? The debate remains.

      • The Duke

        By the time Senzel is healthy and plays a couple weeks in AAA to get back into the swing of things, we’ll have 4-6 weeks of actual game data to make the decision on vs trying to prognosticate what we think will happen during spring training which more often than not isn’t like the real game scenarios.

  6. Klugo

    I don’t know if this is a fact or not, but it seems like there has been an up-tick in Hispanic names on the Reds roster, which, in my opinion is a good thing.

  7. Oldtimer

    Reds payroll is $133 M for 2019 per USA Today. 14th highest among 30 MLB teams.

  8. Wes

    The most consistent pitcher on the team is Alex wood. If reds are gonna have any chance at all they need him back very soon. I was hoping Roarks hot start would carry into season but that seems unlikely now. Castillo seems shakey. To bad Dallas “the donkey” kuechel wouldn’t sign- reds could use him. The rotation is suspect at best. With injuries to lineup reds need a bit of luck to start the season and then hopefully catch a groove ! To be honest though- not as excited as I was a few weeks ago.

  9. Tyler

    There giving Stephenson as much looks as possible to try and up his trade value.
    Also think if someone comes available on waivers they will cut him

    • AirborneJayJay

      No, no, no. You have it all wrong.
      Stephenson is going to play an integral part of the 2020 rotation. At present, the Reds only have Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo for 2020. Stephenson is going to mature this season into the #3 spot in the rotation next year. When Roark and Wood are traded in late July, Stephenson will get his chance in August and September and roll into 2020 on a high note.
      The way big name starters who would have been free agents next year are signing extensions and won’t be available next winter, it is even more imperative the Reds give Stephenson some starting chances in 2019 to set the stage for 2020.

  10. Doc

    I am still among those who hope Stephenson gets a good look under the tutelage of the new pitching coach. One cannot discount his 2018 season at Louisville. If he truly has some of the best stuff in the system, maybe the new coach has the key to unlock the talent at the major league level.

    If nobody picks up Wisler on waivers, then I understand why the Reds made the move they did.

    • The Duke

      It’s all about the control. If he can figure that out, then he has some of the nastiest movement in the organization.

      Even if we lose Wisler, it was still the right call if it was between him, Bob Steve, and Peralta. Now, if you wanted to say keep Wisler over Duke….

  11. Michael B. Green

    I have not followed all of this but did CIN place Blandino on the DL yet? Since we are not at 40, I would assume that they will put him on the DL10 or DL15 (forget when the new rules kick in) rather than just optioning him to AAA but I assume the latter saves them money.

    • Doug Gray

      No. Roster moves don’t have to be made until tomorrow, so they won’t be. I could be wrong, but since he was injured last year in the Major Leagues, he can’t be optioned to the minors at this point until he’s ready to play.

      • William Kubas

        Not much to comment yet on former Stanford Cardinal, Alex Blandino.
        The shithead, Max Moroff, the perpetrator of the injury is 0 for 5 with 2 strikeouts……..that is a good thing.