Assuming Adam Dunn’s contract option is exercised and he returns to bash forty or more homers again, the big questions next year are going to be surrounding the pitching staff (aren’t those the big questions every year?).

In today’s Post, there are a couple of pieces that relate to that general topic.

First, the Reds are really in pretty good shape at the top of the rotation. Aaron Harang is a stud, and one of the best pitchers in the league. Bronson Arroyo is a good option at the number two spot.

After that, it’s kinda wide open. I think it’s the official position of the staff here at Redleg Nation that Homer Bailey should be given one of the remaining spots in the rotation. Lonnie Wheeler has this piece on Bailey in the Post, and while most of Wheeler’s columns are unreadable, this one is alright, if only for the quotes from Homer. I really love this kid’s makeup; go check out those quotes.

Bailey will be inconsistent next year, as all young pitchers are, but the Reds need to stick him in the rotation and leave him there through the ups and downs. It’s the only way he’ll get the experience he needs.

Matt Belisle, of course, is another name that will be in the mix for next year, and I’d personally like to see him in the rotation again. He’s still relatively young, and he’ll be at an age when many pitchers take a step forward. Belisle has bad some great starts this year, but he’s had some bad ones, too. All in all, I don’t think he’s a bad option for the back of the rotation in 2008.

Belisle pitches tonight, and CTR has this article on him in today’s Post.

That leaves one position in the rotation. Bob Castellini needs to take that Eric Milton money and put it toward signing someone who can be the #3 guy in the rotation (or the #2 guy, if any of those are available). That will go a long way toward stabilizing the rotation, and will leave the bullpen as the sole cause for concern.

Of course, with the way GM Wayne Krivsky has bumbled around in putting together a bullpen over the last two years, that’s a BIG cause for concern, but we’ll remain hopeful. If we can.

About The Author

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at

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9 Responses

  1. Sultan of Swaff

    I like PeteyMac’s long answer about young pitchers. Especially when he qualified it by saying, ‘on a championship team’. So often folks get hung up on just having a good team instead of one that can compete for a championship. I often wonder if I have tunnel vision when it comes to the core guys on this team I like—that they maybe aren’t ‘championship’ caliber. But if that’s where Pete’s head is at during another meaningless September, at least I know he’s the guy I want running the show come April. It would be in Homer’s best interest to have a manager with such high expectations as well.

  2. Bill

    I like Bailey, but I’m concerned that “fans” expectations will be too high for the kid. He’ll struggle in a couple of starts, the fans will start complaining that he’s overhyped, and then my concern is the Reds lose confidence in him and ship him down. Baring injury or an ERA of 9, he should be in the rotation next year.

    I also like Belisle. My biggest problem with him is he seems to give up homers in bunches and with runners on. I think this could be a concentration issue and can be overcome.

    But even if you have 4/5’s of a rotation, this team still needs help in the bullpen.

  3. Bogey

    Belisle has a lot of potential. I think his problem is one of maintaining focus.

    His pitching reminds me of my golf game. I can play 14 or 15 holes each round with the pros. But there will be 3 or 4 brain farts that result in double bogeys and a very large score. Very frustrating.

  4. Will RedsCHI

    Been reading this blog for two years and have never commented…Here’s the problem with the rotation next year: It is going to look the same. We will see Harang, Arroyo, Belisle, Bailey (won’t be good for a few more years), and some crappy fifth starter from the free agent market. If Kyle Lohse is one of the best starters out there this off-season, then its not gonna look good for the Reds signing any talent.

    What do they need to do? They need to allow Bailey to stay all year and give Cueto, Maloney, Belisle a shot at the remaining spots. If they decide to dabble in the free agent market they look at Joel Pineiro (but only if they can pay less than 4.5 mill), but that’s not even really worth it. Pick up the option on Dunn! 40 HRs 100 RBIs are not easy to come by.

  5. Sultan of Swaff

    Jon Garland has one more year left on his deal w/ the ChiSox at $12mil. He’s been pretty respectable (4.2 ERA) on a crappy Sox team, and gets a ton of groundball outs. He’s available. Cueto and Mesoraco for the guy if the Reds negotiate an extension?

  6. seanjp

    Ideally the Reds need a No. 2 so they can push Arroyo back to 3, Bailey to 4 and let Belise be 5.

    But that’s gonna cost more than $10 million saved on Milton.

    I’m not sold on Belisle. Along with what’s mentioned above, he’s a guy who seems to struggle the second time through the lineup and he’s averaging just 5 2/3 innings in 36 career starts.

    Seems that’s enough starts to know what he is and isn’t, but maybe he needs another year. But he’s looking like a long reliever to me.

  7. seanjp

    I guess Lonnie Wheeler being on the New York Times bestseller list with one of the most acclaimed sports biographies of all time, Hank Aaron’s “I Had a Hammer,” isn’t good enough for those who can only read the sports page in short, chopping sentences.

    A simple Google search reveals he’s one of the most awarded sports writers in Ohio.

  8. Daedalus

    Uh, well seanjp, apparently you haven’t been reading his articles this year. It doesn’t matter how many awards one wins – crap is crap is crap, and most of what he’s written this year has been crap. Besides, those awards are all political. Once you win one, you always get mentioned for another no matter what crap you put out.

    I’m putting my money on Cueto being moved into the rotation by June at the latest. I also think Maloney’s going to get a shot out of Spring Training. I’m not at all worried about the pitching with those two. They are much better options than any of the free agents out there. I mean, so what if they are inconsistent? So are the available free agents! Might as well go for young, cheap, and inconsistent rather than old, expensive Miltons!

  9. Joe

    I don’t see Belisle as a starter. He tends to implode around the 4th. or 5th. innings. Put him in the relief corp; a better choice than Coffey, who I don’t think has the mental makeup to be a consistent reliever. As for starters, go with Cueto and Maloney and use Miltie’s money for relief pitching. Most teams are struggling to develop pitching, so be patient with Bailey, Cueto and Maloney because they will have their good and bad days. It takes some time to be a consistent winning pitcher in the Bigs.
    I like the writing of Lonnie Wheeler and hope he sticks around when the Post closes. He brings a certain sentiment to things, and ties other facets of life to sports which I enjoy.