Based on an interview with Dusty Baker, John Fay reports today that the Reds are considering Mike Leake as the odd man out of the rotation at the start of the year.

Baker didn’t include Leake in the list of definite starters.

“We got (Johnny) Cueto, (Mat) Latos, Bronson (Arroyo),” he said

And Leake?

“I didn’t say Leake,” he said.

Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman are also in the rotation mix. The one who doesn’t start will likely be in the bullpen.

The Reds may feel that Leake is better suited for the bullpen than is Homer Bailey. Bailey has a reputation for taking a long time to warm up. One other possibility would be to send Leake to AAA as he, unlike Bailey, has options remaining.

Two days ago, Baker flatly denied any question that Leake would be in the rotation.

Leake is scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen today. Don’t read anything into that. Leake is firmly in the rotation.

“Why wouldn’t he be?” Baker said. “He’s had two good years. We feel he’s ready. He’s stretched out pretty good. This is more of tune-up. This is more of keeping-him-sharp thing.”

For what it’s worth, Leake has been mediocre in Goodyear. Over 14 innings, he has a 5.14 ERA and given up 20 hits and 3 walks while striking out six.

Yesterday, Fay speculated that the Reds might send Leake to AAA at the start of the season until they need a fifth starter on April 11. The team could carry 11 pitchers instead of 12, which would allow them to put off deciding between Juan Francisco and Todd Frazier for a few days. Under that scenario, the Reds would still have to choose between Aroldis Chapman and Homer Bailey for the rotation.

My ninth grade social science teacher had a saying that aptly described this situation: It’s as clear as mud.

11 Responses

  1. Jason Linden

    If Mike Leake does not make this rotation, my head will explode. Explode. He is so underrated it isn’t even funny. The only bright side to him being left out would be the absurdly long post I would write about how stupid that decision would be.

  2. Doug Gray

    For the 2011 season, the Steamer Projection system was the most accurate at projecting pitchers. It separated itself from the others because unlike the other systems that only use things like age and stats, it also incorporates velocity into its projections. Here is what the projected ERA’s are for the 6 guys from Steamer for 2012:
    Latos 3.76, Bailey 4.15, Leake 4.24, Cueto 4.31, Arroyo 4.87, Chapman 3.14 (as RP)

  3. Swatch

    @Jason Linden: How do you feel about the idea of sending Leake to Louisville until his start? I suspect they’re trying to move Francisco and want to wait as long as possible to try and move him.

  4. Jason Linden

    @Swatch: I’d send Chapman. Leake should be more or less free to pitch as much as needed. Chapman is the one who needs to have an innings limit.

  5. Steve Mancuso

    Bill James projections for the Reds starters for 2012 (FIP): Latos 3.06; Chapman 3.46; Bailey 3.83; Cueto 3.97; Leake 4.42; Arroyo 4.63.

  6. eastcoast redsfan

    I read somewhere that Philly was talking to the Reds about Janish. Assuming that’s true, who do you ask for in return?

    • shifty

      I read somewhere that Philly was talking to the Reds about Janish.Assuming that’s true, who do you ask for in return?

      My vote is for getting Horst back, but they probably don’t want any part of that.

  7. mike

    I see two people posted projections and I think if you combine those projections with this from the original post;
    “For what it’s worth, Leake has been mediocre in Goodyear. Over 14 innings, he has a 5.14 ERA and given up 20 hits and 3 walks while striking out six.”

    and then add to that that Arroyo and Bailey haven’t looked great this spring it seems to me that Arroyo should be the odd man out.

    I posted a rotation idea a week or so ago that was Latos, Chapman, Cueto, Leake and Francis.
    I’ve watched most of today’s game between the Giants and Reds and Francis has has kept Giants hitters off-balance all day. His curve looks good as does his location.

    I still think Arroyo is the weak link and I still think Chapman should be in the rotation no matter what.

  8. pinson343

    @Jason Linden: I agree that Leake is highly underrated. More specifically, what he’s accomplished in 2 professional seaons is highly underrated, even by Reds fans. He was the Reds number 2 starter last season.

    Hopefully Dusty is just blowing smoke here, not liking people to make assumptions.
    But who knows last season at this point he had Leake slated to pitch in the bullpen.

    And as Fay points out today, if Leake is optioned, then he won’t be back in time to be the 5th starter on April 11.

  9. secondguessingfanbase

    Either Dusty is blowing smoke, or the front office is making him look bad here. Baker assures us that Leake will start the year in the rotation, Jocketty hears the comment and calls to remind his field manager that the same reason Homer Bailey wasn’t traded this offseason is the same reason he’s starting the year with the big club – he’s out of options. We all know the team won’t put him in the bullpen.

  10. Bill Lack

    Fay says in today’s Enquirer article that Leake cannot be optioned now and be brought back for the April 11th start, as he’d have to stay in the minors for 10 days.