2017 Reds

4-man rotation: Missed opportunity

Whatever you may think of the Reds’ decision to demote Amir Garrett and the reasons for it, the club’s strategy for replacing him seems backward.

The stated rationale for the timing of Garrett’s move to AAA is the Reds’ upcoming schedule. Two off days allow Garrett’s turn to be skipped and to use a rotation of Bronson Arroyo (40), Scott Feldman (34), Tim Adleman (29) and Rookie Davis (24) for a couple weeks.

Why use a 4-man rotation in Garrett’s absence?

Doesn’t that run counter to the declared principle that 2017 is a season for finding out what the young players can do? With the appropriate focus on the Rebuild, the Reds would have arranged it so one of the other young pitchers could take Garrett’s turn while he’s gone. Instead, the front office’s intention appears to be using up an even a higher percentage of starts with non-Rebuild pitchers.

The decision to send Amir Garrett to AAA for a few weeks may be brilliant from the stand point of the pitcher’s service time. It might even be the right thing to do in terms of the public reason of keeping Garrett’s innings pitched in check.

But the approach the team appears to be taking to replacing him sure seems like a huge missed opportunity.

Yes, it’s only two or three weeks. And maybe the club won’t stick to the 4-man rotation throughout Garrett’s time in Louisville. Maybe Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson or a different young pitcher (Michael Lorenzen, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle?) will be given the critical experience of major league starts. We’ll have to watch and hope.

44 thoughts on “4-man rotation: Missed opportunity

  1. OTOH – Feldman may become more tradable with a few more good starts, and Adleman doesn’t wholly fit in the non-rebuild group. That said, they really should get at least one start out of one of the “future” starters. Isn’t Garrett coming right back up after the magic time period passes? They can easily avoid the innings charade by him sitting out a few starts in mid-August/early Sept. with 40-man callups if necessary.

  2. Reed and Stephenson cannot possibly start for the Reds if we want to keep Bryan Price above ground.

  3. The young guys ARE getting plenty of playing time. And the Reds org is probably starting to think (right or wrong) that they could continue to contend anyway, so why start any more unknown or shaky commodities if you don’t need to?

    Plus, Garrett’s demotion gave the Reds another bullpen arm — yet another young guy that they probably wanted to get a look at.

    Of course, who knew that we would suddenly have such a well rested bullpen? Maybe we can bring up another young position player to get a look at…

    Bottom line, this is such a short period of time. The potential gain with Garrett is large, but the alleged missed opportunity is minimal.

  4. Have we heard any updates on Bailey or Desclafani recently? With the Reds surprising place in the standings, getting one or both of them back soon would be very welcome. Sweeping the Giants was great, but I have a feeling that the next three games are going to look very different. The Yankees have been putting up nearly 6 runs per game.

      • I’m not knocking the Reds offense, our 5.25 runs per game is great (though still a half run per game less than the Yankees). I’m just saying that if the Reds are actually going to be competitive this year (which I didn’t think they would be), the starting rotation could really use a boost.

        I trust guys like Arroyo and Rookie Davis a lot more against last place NL teams than I do against the highest scoring offense in the AL.

      • One of the reporters who visits the radio broadcast booth during the game said a few days ago that Disco won’t be back for a few months. I’m thinking after the All-Star break. Homer maybe in mid to late June? And Finnegan could return sooner than that, maybe early June. … But I’m not holding my breath on any of them.

  5. It seems we’re unlikely to get our favorite young starter candidates in the rotation until next year when/if they get stretched out in spring training. In the meantime, I would be interested to see every fifth rotation spot as a bullpen day. Give Lorenzen, Iglesias, and Stephenson 2-3 innings each. It’s starting experience of sorts. And, if one of them were to excel, maybe the could stretch them out at this level.

    Second half of 2017 rotation:

    Bailey
    DeSclafani
    Garrett
    Davis/Finnegan/Romano (whoever’s hottest/not injured)
    Bullpen day (when fifth starter is needed)

    Wishful thinking, I know. Seeing Lorenzen as fourth starter in this rotation is obviously preferable, but to me seems unlikely in 2017.

    • You should read more carefully. And please direct your comments toward the Reds, not the writers or other commenters here.

  6. What message does that send to your team??! Yeah you are all overachieving to this point of the season and we (front office) know what’s best for team, so let’s take away your BEST pitcher to save couple of bucks for later just ensure your slide down to bottom of division… Hope I’m wrong and Reds continue to improve and become story of the season, but as a player/coach I’d be PO’d about decision

    • He is going to miss 2 or 3 starts, these are starts he can make September when he would be typically be shut down, It is my impression, they are not going to play him in AAA, so if he only has 25 starts this season why waste them now? all the while saving on the service time

  7. Not sure what is more disappointing. Either the Reds didn’t value fitting a young pitcher or two into Garrett’s starts (assuming that’s what happens) OR they did consider it and don’t have a pitcher at the development stage that can handle and benefit from a couple starts with the major league team.

    • Or, the Reds feel like they can compete this year, and they don’t want to give up any more games than necessary just to see yet another new player?

      Not saying that’s necessarily the right way to go, but it’s definitely a realistic interpretation.

    • I lean towards the latter and agree that it’s disappointing, but mainly because the Reds are showing signs of being competitive this year and will likley be done in by the rotation. The young rotation candidates–excepting Garret, perhaps–all seem to feature very good stuff and poor and/or inconsistent control and knowledge of their craft. Not surprising, given their ages.

    • I lean towards the latter and agree that it’s disappointing, but mainly because the Reds are showing some indication of being competitive this year and probably will be done in by the rotation.

  8. If Garrett is on an innings count, and the Reds continue to hang around in the playoff race, then it does make more sense to give Garrett inning breaks now instead of closing him down for the year in September. Remember what the Nationals did with Strasburg a few years ago?

    To Steve original point, it would have been nice to see a start to someone like Stephenson, who pitched the final 3 innings of Garrett’s last start. Perhaps there is still room for that if the bullpen gets little use the next two days. But we have Davis tonight who has pitched 5 innings in just one of his starts this season and no-longer-innings-eater Arroyo coming up in the rotation. I’m thinking the bullpen will get plenty of use the next few days.

    • But on your first point, isn’t equally true that they would need Garrett’s contributions now in order to be in a position to get into the playoffs later? A lot of things would have to go right for the Reds to be in contention this year. And one of those would be that Garrett would need to contribute many quality innings.

      • I was commenting more on getting him into position to extend into October. Or even to make it through the end of September on something other than fumes.

  9. My thoughts are just what they have always been and that unless the young guys start(Reed,Stephensen and others) it is just kicking the cam down the road.Once the decision was made on Garrett the obvious thing was to plug somebody else in for a couple of starts.You never ever by-pass a chance while in the re-build mode to give a guy a start or two that may just be part of the future.Good grief have we gave up on everybody else already.

  10. I’m disappointed that Stephenson hasn’t been given a chance to start in a year and Reed given one start in a season where the rotation has been up in the air. I don’t understand giving the lower ceiling guys extended looks while the higher ceiling guys rot in the bullpen. Okay so we have found out that Garrett, Adleman, Davis could be possibly be #4s or #5. Feldman looks like a good flip candidate and Arroyo is getting by using smoke and mirrors. Unfortunately, those weren’t really the questions I had hoped the Reds were going to answer this year.

    One bright spot is offensively, the Reds are looking very good. With a healthy Mesoraco the hitting could be something special. When you go up and down that line up it seems like almost everyone, sans the usual suspects, is capable of hitting a home run.

    • Totally agree….what does 3 good innings from Stephenson mean when its 100 to 0 and the other team has already quit? Roll him out there for 3-4 starts and see what happens? I expect Rookie to get hammered by the Yankees tonite but atleast we’ll learn something. This team can score and the bullpen & defense have been top notch so far! They’re not that far away but they desperately need as much info as possible on these guys in order to set a decent rotation!

      • Well, Rookie did get hammered, but what did we learn? Probably that he shouldn’t be starting in MLB yet, but that isn’t really new information.

  11. I agree INDY.We know what we have now so lets see what the others have got.Hard to imagine Stephensen,Reed and others not being given the same chance.Stuff wise it isn’t even close with these two vs. our 5 starters.Seems like the Reds are willing to throw them out regardless of the outcome while Reed got one start and Stephensen none.

  12. Man, more negativity on this site than after the Reds limped home last week, mired in a 3W & 9 L end of April. Williams is carrying a tray of full goblets of wine through an obstacle course & hasn’t spilled a drop so far. There’ll be plenty time to complain after the Reds fall out of 1st place. This is the most exciting Reds baseball in several years. I can’t wait for tonight’s game.

    • thats quite the analogy. I can certainly see why people are frustrated but I do think that the FO has earned some level of trust and for them to be doing what they are doing, there has to be a long term goal that they are confident about

      • I’ll go back to Dick Williams saying in the offseason that there would be hard choices this team had to make. The most obvious of those choices might have been eating the BP contract and moving him on, and whether to trade Cozart, but it goes beyond that.

        Keeping an extra year of control over Garrett makes all the sense in the world. Yes, it’s a hard decision to do it with the Reds a few games over .500, but it’s early May. Better to do it now than to wait until later. Can you imagine the pressure on the front office if the Reds somehow were in wild card contention and then had to make a move like this, with Garrett entrenched in the rotation?

        Steve’s original point is right-on. Let the kids pitch.

  13. I agree. I do not understand what they are doing with Stephenson at ALL. They should have thrown him in the rotation at the beginning of the year (instead of garrett, which would have saved this entire service time demotion issue) and given Bob 4-5 consecutive starts to see what he can do. Hes talent warrants that. Instead, you’ve got rookie davis and tim adleman out there getting extended looks while Bob sits in pen pitching 0 meaningful innings. If he cant cut it as a starter, he cant cut it, and then at least you know what you have and you can start preparing him to be a reliever for the long term. I don’t get it.

    • He can’t cut it yet, maybe. The point is to bring him along so that he can.

  14. I am in favor of the rebuild. But Reed has no business in the Majors right now, and Stevenson is hanging by a thread, just staying in the show in the bullpen.

    This team is showing signs of being competitive. I see no reason to field the Louisville Bats team.

    I am enjoying watching this team right now. I have no desire to see Minor League pitchers who are not ready. I Would much rather watch Feldman than Reed get shelled or Stevenson walk batter after batter.

    • How can you be in favor of a rebuild and say you would rather see the veterans getting pummeled than the young pitchers?

  15. It has me wondering if they will do something similar to Rookie, perhaps when AG’s rest is over? (Meanwhile, stretching out Reed to replace one of the “veterans” in the rotation.) That would make more sense to me, essentially rotating the rookies between AAA/Reds to control innings/service time for all of them. It is definitely risky considering your putting all the eggs in the BIG THREE of Feldman, Arroyo and Adleman. Yikes.

  16. I do think this is a substantial departure from the previous management that seemed tilted to the players needs/wants over the organizations. This deserves attention and kudos, IMO.

  17. If Homer,Disco and Finny make it back at some point then they will become the BIG THREE as planned and then we get a look at what we could become going forward.For now the warm bodies hold down the rotation.I doubt any would start on another team rebuilding or not which has always puzzled me but maybe that is part of the plan.

  18. Dumb move even in rebuild mode we are primed to walk away with the Central division this year!!

  19. Garrett to AAA I get. Reed to AAA I get. Different logic in each case but sensible. No starts for Stephenson, Lorenzen, Mahle, Romano, Castillo while those two are in Louisville I don’t get. Especially after last night’s game I’d send Davis to AAA as well to work on command in a lower stress setting and give two or three starts each to Stephenson and Romano (or better yet, Lorenzen). So on this one Steve I’d say – agree. Possible missed opportunity. Maybe they’ll surprise us still.

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