The Cincinnati Reds have added four players to the 40-man roster tonight, in advance of the 8pm deadline to finalize the rosters for protecting players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. Cincinnati selected the contracts of catcher Tyler Stephenson, right-handed starter Tony Santillan, right-handed starter Tejay Antone, and right-handed reliever Ryan Hendrix.

Tyler Stephenson is currently rated as the Reds third best prospect. Tony Santillan joins him in the top five at number five. And Ryan Hendrix cracks the list on the sixteenth spot. It’s Tejay Antone who isn’t rated in the top 25 list, but was a player that warranted plenty of conversation about whether or not to protect him. The Reds decided that he was worth adding. He can provide depth for the rotation for now, and could possibly be an interesting groundball machine out of the bullpen if they want to look at that road down the line.

Those four players puts the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster at 39 players. Teams don’t have to have a full roster if they choose not to. But that’s where things get a bit strange – there’s an open spot on the roster and TJ Friedl is currently left unprotected. As I type this sentence there are still 35 minutes until the deadline to make transactions hits, so he could still be added. But the fact that he wasn’t on the original list doesn’t give much indication that he’ll be added by then – that’s not how the Reds have operated in the past. I guess we’ll see.

For now, though, let’s talk about why the confusion is here. The Reds starting center fielder, Nick Senzel, is battling his way back from shoulder surgery this offseason. He’s supposed to be ready to go when the season begins. But he’s also a guy fully capable of playing on the infield. TJ Friedl is a center fielder, and a pretty good one. He did struggle at the plate a little bit in 2019 as he battled with an ankle injury that ultimately required surgery and cost him the final two months of the season. But even in a down year that was plagued by an injury his OPS+ in the Double-A Southern League was 117. That means his OPS was 17% better than the league average. While Jose Siri is also on the 40-man roster, Friedl very well could be ready to play every day in the big leagues sooner due to a stronger approach at the plate. That could have provided some insurance, if nothing else, for the Reds.

When looking at his tools, he’s at least fringe-average across the board. Power is really the only tool that’s fringe-average, though. His arm is average, his hitting is average to slightly above-average, and his defense is above-average. Oh, and he’s got plus speed. He is recovering from ankle surgery, but that shouldn’t stop any team from selecting him.

If the team had no roster spots available, this would make a little bit more sense. But the spot is there and available. That leaves at least this writer a bit confused.

Update at 830PM

We’ll have more on this later, but the Reds have acquired right-handed pitcher Jose De Leon from Tampa Bay. He’s now on the 40-man roster, which would be one reason that Cincinnati didn’t choose to protect TJ Friedl by adding him to the roster.

28 Responses

  1. Andrew

    Reds website says AlfRod is eligible for the draft. Can that be right??

    • Alex Reds

      Yes AlfRod is eligible and was not protected. He doesn’t get on base much..

      • Oldtimer

        (Clipped from MLB article) Reds: Alfredo Rodriguez, SS (No. 18) – The Reds gave Rodriguez $7 million to sign out of Cuba in 2016 with the hopes he’d be their future big league shortstop. He could defend in the big leagues right now, but he hasn’t hit consistently. There’s little impact with the bat, though he is coming off his best offensive season, hitting .286/.325/.347 in Double-A to earn a late promotion up a level.

  2. Simon Cowell

    I”m guessing the Reds have full confidence that we won’t have an issue at Centerfield. Maybe there is a deal already in the works?

    • Alex Reds

      Yes, the Reds traded for Jose De Leon from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash or a player to be named later

  3. Northernkyreds

    Wow. All that money Jocketty spent on Alfredo Rodriguez. Smh. This team is just all over the place. TJ will get picked up. Reds are on another planet sometimes. They just acquired a pitcher to fill that spot and looking at his profile, the reds have plenty of pitcher just like him.

    • Simon Cowell

      I’m a fan of Friedl but I am trusting this organization at this point. Maybe they know something about that ankle that we don’t. Hippa and all…

      • Gaffer

        He can’t be picked up, only rule V drafted. Does anyone think Freidl can stay on an MLB roster all year? We won’t lose him.

        Do you think he could beat out the 6 other 4th outfielders on this roster? They will sign an OF almost for sure in FA, so that’s one less spot.

    • Oldtimer

      Rodriguez was a good SS prospect. He hasn’t hit yet. He may still.

      Jocketty and Baker led the Reds to their only three playoff appearances in the past 25 years. Jocketty was a very good GM both at STL and CIN.

      • Tom Diesman

        Jockey the did no better with the reds than Bowden did. Was so glad to see him gone.

      • Oldtimer

        Baloney. Jocketty got Reds into playoffs 3 times. Bowden just once.

      • Oldtimer

        Jocketty was ranked #9 best GM all-time in 2018 article:

        … Like a lot of the best all-time general managers, Jocketty could be very bad as well as very good. In 2003 and again in 2007 his moves cost the Cardinals a post-season place. But that merely ratifies his status as an action figure. In 19 seasons, a Jocketty-led team either won or tied for the NL Central title nine times. That’ll work …

      • Tom Diesman

        Jocketty with Reds

        Regular Season 708-729 .493 WP
        Playoffs 2-7 .222 WP

        Bowden with Reds

        Regular Season 852-865 .496 WP
        Playoffs 3-4 .429 WP

      • Oldftimer

        Jocketty with Reds. 3 playoff appearances.

        Other GM with Reds after 1995. 0 playoff appearances.

        Jocketty >>>>> Bowden. Ain’t EVEN close.

  4. Bill

    Love the DeLeon pick-up–very high upside move. Perplexed that Friedl was left off and Schebler retained. I wonder if this means they believe Schebler will be productive in the spring. If so, he’d be an excellent bench piece.

  5. Bill

    Doug, has any of the DFA players from today piqued your interest?

  6. CP

    I like the De Leon pickup, but it came at a risk. Time will tell whether or not we lose TJ. When is the Rule V draft?

    Back to De Leon. He strikes me as a low cost way to approach that extra depth at SP/RP the FO was talking about needing. You can’t assume health. You have to prepare for needing 6-7 starters throughout the year at least, and that is on a healthy year. If the rotation stays healthy, he can always be tossed in the bullpen and let his stuff play up.

    • Doug Gray

      Working on this thing right now…. hopefully will have it tomorrow morning at some point.

  7. RojoBenjy

    Don’t like not protecting Friedl.

    But he may be a year away from contributing anyway.

    Not sure why they kept Schebler though. I bet he would have been passed up by all clubs and could have been signed to a minor league sea if the Reds really wanted him.

  8. Oldtimer

    (OOPS) Clipped from MLB article:

    Here’s a look at 11 of the most stunning offseason trades in MLB history.

    Dec. 21, 2018: Dodgers trade Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, Kyle Farmer and $7 million to Reds for Homer Bailey, Josiah Gray and Jeter Downs

    In a blockbuster move with ramifications far beyond the players involved, the Dodgers unloaded multiple star players, sparking speculation that Los Angeles may be clearing payroll and outfield space to make a run at superstar free agent Bryce Harper. The Dodgers could also use the payroll space to sign another free agent, or the prospects received in the deal to trade for Miami’s star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

    The Reds, meanwhile, bolstered an already scary lineup that features perennial National League Most Valuable Player candidate Joey Votto, as well as sluggers Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suárez and Scott Schebler. Puig will be entering his final season before free agency, and will have the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park to call home. Kemp will likewise benefit from his new home ballpark, especially after having a strong 2018 campaign, hitting .290/.338/.481 with 21 home runs for Los Angeles.

    The Dodgers immediately released Bailey after acquiring him, making him a free agent. The 32-year-old right-hander has posted a 6.25 ERA in 38 starts since returning from Tommy John surgery and subsequent removal of bone chips from his pitching elbow. Downs, a middle infielder, was Cincinnati’s No. 7 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Gray, a right-handed pitcher, was the organiztion’s No. 20 prospect.

    The aftermath of the deal will be very intriguing to follow, as the Dodgers may have vaulted themselves into frontrunner status to land Harper, the 26-year-old outfielder who is expected to command a contract between $300 and $400 million. The trade with the Reds may also signal Los Angeles is intending to load up its already star-studded lineup as the club seeks to win its first World Series title in 31 years, losing in the Fall Classic in both ’17 and ’18.

    • Oldtimer

      I would add this one:

      November 29, 1971: Joe Morgan traded by the Houston Astros with Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo and Denis Menke to the Cincinnati Reds for Tommy Helms, Lee May and Jimmy Stewart.

      Morgan was star, and Billingham/Menke/Geronimo were starters in 1972. Armbrister scored winning run in NL playoffs. The best Reds trade in my lifetime (born 1951).

    • Matt McWax

      Yeah, this didn’t work out. Combined with the Bauer deal:

      Net 2019 WAR was -2.8

      Puig .6
      Bauer .6
      Farmer -.1
      Wood -.2
      Kemp -.8
      gave up:
      Bailey 2.9

      Lost Assets (Bailey not included, contract through 2019):

      Scott Moss
      Taylor Trammell
      Josiah Gray
      Jeter Downs

      Acquired Assets:
      Trevor Bauer (2020)
      Kyle Farmer

      One year of Bauer and Kyle Farmer for 3 very good prospects and 1 good prospect plus the lost WAR (although who could have predicted any of those outcomes, especially Wood and Bailey?).

      The farm system needs rebuilt and I believe the team might be doing some good organizational things this offseason to help with that but this one will probably hurt for a while.