This year was to be the year of sorting. Some would rise. Others would fall. In the end, a balanced team would be born.
Uh… Yeah, about that. A funny thing happened on the way to being competitive. This team is lopsided. In some places, things have gone much better than expected. In other places… not so much.
What’s Gone Right
Right now, the Reds have four players who should be starting in a major league outfield. This wasn’t supposed to happen. The best assumption was that Adam Duvall or Scott Schebler would fade and Jesse Winker would get a shot. So much for that. Duvall and Schebler are going nowhere, but Winker is getting on base like crazy in Louisville, where his .395 OBP is fourth in the league. One of these guys needs to be traded, for reasons that will soon become apparent.
What’s Gone Fine
Right now, the Reds have three players who need to be playing third, second, or short in the majors. This is the bowl of porridge that is just right. Dilson Herrera hasn’t hit in Louisville. Nick Senzel has been crushing the ball since May started and is probably due for a promotion to AA soon. Meaning Herrera may quickly find himself the odd man out of the infield equation. Zack Cozart has turned himself from trade chip into conundrum (who should still probably be traded) while Jose Peraza continues to hit just enough to be given some slack (he’s still only 23).
What’s Gone Wrong (Here Be Dragons)
Amir Garrett started great, but has apparently been hurt and clearly isn’t right. Cody Reed and Robert Stephenson have pitched badly. Sal Romano just had his first minor league start since April. That’s right kids, THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A PITCHING PROSPECT. Brandon Finnegan is maybe going to be back soon. Same-ish for Homer. But right now, the second best pitcher in the rotation is, um, Tim Adleman? One begins to wonder if Tyler Mahle might just be thrown into the fire (he won’t, but one nevertheless wonders). But surely someone can do something. Just for everyone’s benefit. Here is the list of theoretical starting pitchers for the Reds this year in something approximating a depth chart.
- Homer Bailey – Hurt
- Anthony DeSclafani – Hurt
- Brandon Finnegan – Hurt
- Scott Feldman – HEALTHY AND DECENT!!!!!
- Amir Garrett – Hurt-ish
- Cody Reed – Bad
- Robert Stephenson – Bad
- Sal Romano – Hurt
- Tim Adleman – HEALTHY AND DECENT!!!!
- Rookie Davis – bad
- Bronson Arroyo – bad and very old
- Lisalverto Bonilla – yes, really, this is where we are
- Asher Wojciechowski – I know, I know. It’s okay to cry
- Um… Tyler Mahle? Me? Chad Dotson?
Honestly, I’m not sure Michael Lorenzen should be a starter, but he wants to be, so why not give the kid a shot? It’s not like anything else has really worked this year. And if Mahle keeps pitching like this, he’s going to force the issue at some point.
But, more to the point, if a team is on their 13th (???) option when it comes to starting a major league game, things have gone really, really badly. And that can’t last forever, right? What the Reds really need is a rotation that pulls from this crop of nine pitchers who have major league stuff: Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Garrett, Reed, Stephenson, Davis, Mahle, Romano. Realistically, they only need four of those guys to work out.
BUT THEY NEED FOUR OF THEM TO WORK OUT. This is a key thing. I vacillate between logical optimism and dumbstruckedness over how poorly it’s gone. This can’t, logically persist. And yet, here we are.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.