Final Reds Position Player Decisions

We know the choices that confront Reds GM Nick Krall as he finalizes the team’s Opening Day roster of position players.

Eleven of the thirteen position players are set.

  • Catchers: Tyler Stephenson, Curt Casali, Luke Maile
  • Infield: Jonathan India, Jose Barrero, Spencer Steer, Kevin Newman
  • Outfield: Wil Myers, Will Benson, Jake Fraley and TJ Friedl

Two spots remain unfilled. In an ideal world (well, where the decision to carry three catchers has already been made), the Reds would add another infielder and another outfielder. If Joey Votto and Nick Senzel were ready, they would fill those assignments. Both Votto (shoulder) and Senzel (toe) have appeared in spring training games as they return from offseason surgery. We already know Senzel will be starting the season in the minors. Votto’s status for Opening Day is undetermined.

[Updated: Joe Danneman of Fox19 News is reporting Votto says he will not be ready for Opening Day. That means Vosler and Ramos will likely make the Reds Opening Day roster. The difficult situation described below is still in play if Votto is ready before Senzel.]

That brings us to Jason Vosler and Henry Ramos, who appear to be the last men standing from the spring training “competition.” One or both of Vosler and Ramos will be on the GABP first-base stripe during the national anthem this Thursday. Let’s get to know them a little better.

Jason Vosler is a 29-year-old infielder. A 16th-round pick by the Chicago Cubs in 2014, Vosler spent the 2014-2019 seasons in the minor leagues in the Cubs and Padres organizations. He became a minor league free agent after the 2020 season and signed with the San Francisco Giants. Vosler spent the 2021 and 2022 years shuttling — 13 separate recalls! — between Triple-A (166 games) and the Giants (77 games). The Giants DFA’d him at the end of 2022. The Reds signed him to a minor league contract on Feb. 1.

For most of his career, Jason Vosler has been a third baseman. In his two years with the Giants, he did see playing time at first and second as well. He also started 24 games in left field, mostly at Triple-A. In the majors, Vosler didn’t grade well at either 3B or LF.

In 193 plate appearances with the Giants, Vosler hit .228/306/.421 with an wRC+ of 100 (exact average). His above-average isolated power of .193 was consistent with how he hit across the minors. That’s roughly 20 homers in a 162-game season. His walk (9%) and strikeout (26%) rates are a bit above average.

Henry Ramos is a 30-year-old switch-hitting outfielder. The Boston Red Sox selected Ramos in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of high school in Puerto Rico. Ramos is the definitive career minor-leaguer. From 2010 to 2021 he played in 916 minor league games, including stints with the Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants and Diamondbacks. He finally got his first call-up with Arizona at the end of 2021. The Diamondbacks then DFA’d him. In 2022, Ramos signed on with a team in the Korean league last year where he played in 18 April games.

In his 900+ minor league games, plus his time in Korea and Arizona, Ramos played all but 11 innings in center and right. Over his 3000+ minor league plate appearances he batted .282/.341/.431. His walk (8.6%) and strikeout (20.7%) are average at the minor league level, as is his isolated power of .149. In his 55 major league plate appearances (small sample alert) he hit .200/.255/.300 for a wRC+ of 48. As a switch-hitter, he’s shown no large handedness split.

Neither Vosler or Ramos is on the Reds 40-man roster.


As mentioned before, with Joey Votto and Nick Senzel on the Reds active roster, neither Vosler or Ramos will be on the team. If both Votto and Senzel start the season on the IL/minors, both Vosler and Ramos would be Cincinnati Reds. Vosler would be the fifth infielder; Ramos the fifth outfielder.

The tangle snags if Votto returns before Senzel.

Other than Vosler, the Reds have no backup for Spencer Steer at third base. Somehow they acquired a shortstop (Newman) who hasn’t played third. Neither has Jose Barrero. Jonathan India had extensive experience at third in college and the minor leagues, but none since 2019. The Reds do seem to be counting on India to play second every day. None of the Reds outfielders, Ramos included, play third.

Meanwhile, Vosler isn’t really a left fielder. All three of the Reds catchers are right-handed and don’t play third or the outfield.

If Joey Votto is ready to return before Nick Senzel, the Reds either cut Jason Vosler, leaving them without a backup at the hot corner. Or they cut Henry Ramos and go with four outfielders, three of whom are left handed.

In light of all that, it’s apparent why the Reds have been racing to fit Barrero in the centerfield slot. Short-term, he would become a plausible fifth OF in the keep-Vosler scenario. It’s equally obvious now why the Reds have been anxious to work Senzel back at third. He’d become the backup for Steer.

It’s a tricky situation made whole by the assumption of nothing-but-healthy players; otherwise destined to repeat in various ways as the 2023 season plays out. Blame who you want. The owners’ payroll cuts. A shortsighted GM. Overcompensating for neglect of the catcher position last year. All eyes at Joe Nuxhall Way cast on 2025 and beyond.

In any case, these imperfect choices are the product of a paper-thin roster.

Steve Mancuso

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.