GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Reds manager Bryan Price has talked a lot about how good it is to have competition in camp.
While there are a lot of jobs on the line, in baseball, building a team is not simply a matter of choosing your best players. It’s who’s on the 40-man roster and who isn’t. It’s who has options and who doesn’t. The Reds also drafted two Rule 5 players — outfielder Jake Cave and left-hander Chris O’Grady. They have to stay on the 25-man roster all year or be offered back to their previous club.
Price, of course, wants the best team. He’s only under contract for this year. President of baseball operations Walt Jocketty and general manager Dick Williams have to keep the future in mind when making roster calls.
Price gets that.
“I think you have to have an understanding that you don’t always get exactly what you want,” he said. “I don’t think that’s how the game works anymore. I have an appreciation of the job they have to do when it comes to potentially risking losing players that we see as big leaguers that we don’t want to remove from our roster.
“That being said, we’ve made this a wide-open competition. My job is present the organization with my opinion of who I think our best 25 players are. Of course, Dick and Walt and our coaching staff and scouts are going to have some opinion on that as well.”
O’Grady (2 Ks in one hitless inning) and Cave (2-for-3, run scored) made a good impression in Game 1 Tuesday.
“I think there’s a big difference between the statistical stuff and what you see with your eyes,” Price said. “Chris O’Grady could have just as easily thrown a 1-2-3 inning and given up two liners to center and a great catch. . . . It would have been a 1-2-3 inning. But to see him be able to pitch inside, to back-door a cutter, throw a good changeup, a good breaking ball for the strikeout his last hitter, that was very impressive because that stuff plays at any level.
“Seeing Jake Cave stand in on a left hander and shoot that ball to the left side was a good sign.”
Because things are wide open, it makes for a meaningful camp.
“It will be interesting,” Price said. “I think it will be really interesting when we break to see who we have on our roster.”