Inspired by the thread in the ORG, I'd like to see everyone's predictions about the Opening Day roster. For the purposes of potential bragging rights , post the roster you think will happen, and not the roster you'd like to see. Of course, explanations for your choices and ideas for what you would do differently than the Reds are very welcome.
Daniel Ray Herrera
So outside of the "locks," I think the last six players to make this team are Travis Wood, Micah Owings, Mike Lincoln, Aaron Miles, Paul Janish, and Wladimir Balentien.
Travis Wood - We've all see the articles about how it's down to Wood, Leake, and Chapman for the fifth starter's role. While Leake and Chapman will ultimately be the better major league pitchers, the Reds are likely to go the conservative route in this decision, in my opinion. Wood obviously has the most experience, considering the other two have none. Although Wood's control problems are a concern (9 BB in 14 innings this spring), he has still gotten the job done. Moreover, despite Wood's control problems, he and Leake have only a very negligible difference in WHIP this spring. If Wood struggles once the season opens, the Reds have a myriad of options to replace him with, including veterans and Leake/Chapman. Admittedly, Mike Leake has done a stellar job this spring and seems really poised. However, he lacks any professional experience, and I don't see the Reds taking the risk in going with Leake. Virtually no one makes the straight jump to the majors regardless of how talented that player may be. There is no rush to get Leake to the majors unless the staff really struggles out of the gate, and the Reds shouldn't be gung-ho about getting him service time and starting his arbitration clock. Likewise, the case is similar with Chapman. Given Chapman's contract structure, I don't see the Reds bringing Chapman on immediately. Also, Chapman's very slight setback with his back injury gives the Reds a reason (albeit not a great one) to start Chapman in the minors without admitting the contractual concerns.
Micah Owings - Owings has had a decent spring, and he obviously provides the Reds with an adequate pinch-hitter if necessary. The Reds need a long man out of the bullpen. Wells has been his atrocious self. Although Lehr has been good this spring, posting a 3.65 ERA, he just doesn't provide Owings' versatility.
Mike Lincoln - This is painful. Lincoln provided for a nice comeback story in 2008, but he still wasn't fantastic. The wheels completely came off in 2009, unfortunately, before an injury ended his season. Thus far in spring training, he hasn't shown much of a reason for the Reds to keep him. However, this is the Reds. With Lincoln scheduled to make $2.5 million, it seems like the Reds will at least try to get something out of Lincoln once the season starts before declaring him a sunk cost. In addition, Baker has stood up for Lincoln in the media, saying that he pitched well in his last outing, despite an error that ultimately cost the Reds the game. I'd much rather see the Reds go with Logan Ondrusek, who was outstanding today against the Dodgers, or Carlos Fisher, despite being limited in ST due to his elbow, or even someone the team already cut. But I think Lincoln is going to have to pitch poorly during the season for the Reds to cut him.
Aaron Miles - Another painful one that we'll have to endure. Miles is scheduled to make $2.7 million, and Jocketty seems infatuated with his grit and propensity to playing on winning teams. Coming off an injury this spring, though, Miles has been terrible, both offensively and defensively. Especially in lieu of Drew Sutton's mono last year and not playing at full strength, I wish the Reds would cut ties with Miles and give Sutton a shot at the utility role, but I don't see it happening.
Paul Janish - Cabrera is getting old, and by many accounts, he has lost a step. Janish is not "Manos de Oro" (who was really more like "Manos de Suck"), but his defensive prowess cannot be matched. While I wish the Reds never signed Cabrera, since the offensive upgrade may not be worth the defensive loss, I think the organization will have enough sense to keep Janish on as a defensive replacement and spot starter for Cabrera and Rolen.
Wladimir Balentien - Wlad is out of options, and the organization seems to believe in him as an MLB player. Laynce Nix has reached his ceiling as a baseball player, but Wlad still has room to grow. Nix also provides left-handed pop off the bench, but I don't think that positive is enough for the Reds to potentially lose Balentien.