GOODYEAR, Ariz. — The Reds have two Rule 5 players in the camp — Jake Cave, the outfielder they selected from the New York Yankees, and Chris O’Grady, the left-handed pitcher they selected from the Los Angeles Angels.
The last time the Reds kept two Rule 5 guys on the roster all year was 2007 when Josh Hamilton and Jared Burton made it. Those were special cases.
Cave and O’Grady have to stay on the 25-man roster all year or be offered back to the club they came from for $25,000 (half of what it cost the Reds to select them).
“We’ll just see how things shake out,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “They’ll have to fill a need. I think it’s hard to compete if you don’t have a player that can help you at the big-league level.
"If it’s a guy like Cave, he’s going to have to be able to platoon, pinch-run, defend, pinch-hit," he said. "If it’s Chris O’Grady, he’s going to have to come in and be able to throw good, consistent innings to have any real value.”
Cave, 23, hit a combined .278 with two home runs, 25 doubles, six triples and 17 stolen bases at Double-A and Triple-A. He’s a left-handed hitter, so he could be useful off the bench.
O’Grady, 25, also split time between Double-A and Triple-A. He was 0-5 with a 3.28 ERA. He converted four of five saves chances.
Teams sometimes stash a player in the roster in order to keep him for the future, but Price said Cave and O’Grady don’t fall into that category.
“I don’t think either one of those guys with where they are with their experience are guys you try to keep on your roster for a year so you can send them to the minor leagues next year,” Price said. “There were a lot of kids we saw video on that we really liked, but they were so far away from being able to help you in the big leagues. In our situation, that takes an opportunity for someone else to develop at the big-league level.”