Originally written on Three-Way Chili  |  Last updated 4/2/12

The Cincinnati Reds will open the 2012 season carrying just 11 pitchers as the team set its Opening Day roster on Monday.

The season-ending injury to Ryan Madson, coupled with the trade of third baseman Juan Francisco to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Triple-A reliever JJ Hoover, made the final cuts somewhat easy for the Reds' brass.

Todd Frazier of course made the team as expected -- he mashed five home runs this spring after clubbing a total of 21 last season (15 at Triple-A Louisville and 6 with the Reds). Frazier will be Scott Rolen's backup at third base, which obviously means he's going to play a lot, and will be a uber utility man that can play several positions.

Other backups that made the squad include outfielder Willie Harris (the lone left-handed bat on the bench), and infielders Miguel Cairo and Wilson Valdez. The Reds will use platoon situations at catcher (Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco) and in left field (Chris Heisey and Ryan Ludwick).

The rest of the starters will be playing close to every day, barring injury (sans Rolen who will certainly get plenty of days off just to preserve his aging body). They include first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips, Rolen, shortstop Zack Cozart, centerfielder Drew Stubbs and right fielder Jay Bruce.

The starting pitching staff will include Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey. Aroldis Chapman will begin the season in the bullpen and left-hander Bill Bray is expected to go on the disabled list.

Manager Dusty Baker still hasn't announced who will be the team's closer, but my money is on Sean Marshall. The rest of the bullpen will include Chapman, Nick Masset, Jose Arredondo, Logan Ondrusek and Sam LeCure.

Votto locked down for the long-term?

The best news of the day is that the Reds are reportedly close to re-signing Votto to a long-term contract. I won't celebrate until that's official, but I'll be blaring the Kool & the Gang once it is. Votto is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2013 season and almost everyone assumed he would not re-up with Cincinnati. Surprise, surprise. Bob Castellini continues to do a good job as the Reds' owner. 

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