Big League Ready

Things Are Weird

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.

  1. Homer Bailey – Hurt
  2. Anthony DeSclafani – Hurt
  3. Brandon Finnegan – Hurt
  4. Scott Feldman – HEALTHY AND DECENT!!!!!
  5. Amir Garrett – Hurt-ish
  6. Cody Reed – Bad
  7. Robert Stephenson – Bad
  8. Sal Romano – Hurt
  9. Tim Adleman – HEALTHY AND DECENT!!!!
  10. Rookie Davis – bad
  11. Bronson Arroyo – bad and very old
  12. Lisalverto Bonilla – yes, really, this is where we are
  13. Asher Wojciechowski – I know, I know. It’s okay to cry
  14. 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.

25 thoughts on “Things Are Weird

  1. Nice synopsis Jason.
    First, Lets all agree the outfield is an outstanding problem to have and more sorting is needed…potential injuries and the trade deadline market are variables that suggest a degree of patience is needed here.

    Second…I think we have learned that the transition to ML solid starter is hard…I would not rush pitchers. Castillo or Mahle in particular. I’d let both progress and stay in the minors this year… If Sal Romano runs off 5 good starts…he would be my candidate to bring up.Garrett.Reed.and Stephenson all need 8-10 starts in AAA to prove they are pitching…not throwing……before even considering . I would use Lorenzen in 2-3 inning stints the next few months to build his repertoire and innings mileage to transition in 2018 as a starter.

    Have the Reds ever used a prime pitcher in the AFL? Could Homer or disco or lorenzen be used to get innings as prep for 2018?

    • I’m a lefty and I can through a mean knuckleball. 🙂 (Can’t be worse than Bronson right now, can it?)

      • I’m a lefty as well and my fastball is currently sitting at around 78-80……. that’s the same as Bronson…….. I’ll even develop a high leg kick if necessary, but the wife draws the line at whatever he is attempting to grow on his face.

  2. What’s so wrong with Wojciechowski? He’s had as many decent outings as poor outings.

    • Nothing, per se. I’m just referencing how far down the depth chart they’ve gone. A few weeks before he started for the Reds he did not have a job in professional baseball.

      • I am wondering the same. Asher seems to have decent stuff, some rust and is hittable the 2nd time through a lineup? But some of that can be addressed by adjusting strategy and learning how to pitch. That takes time – which of course we don’t really have the luxury of. But he was a first round pick, so there’s some ability. Does he have injury history, work-ethic issues…? He seems to have a decent presence on the mound and seems visibly upset when he walks a batter. Maybe he’s a diamond in the rough – any thoughts?

      • gotta think he is going to get rocked up, the Cardinal game was weird, 7 of 9 hitters got a hit at one point and only scored 2 runs. I think he only retired 5 of the last 14 batters he faced. The strikeouts were encouraging but I seriously doubt his ERA is below Bronson’s by seasons end

    • Nothing wrong with Wojo that isn’t wrong with all of the other current starters: he’s mis-cast. He’s good for 2-3 innings, so he’d be a decent middle reliever.

  3. One of these guys, Duvall or Schebler, needs to be traded, for reasons that will soon become apparent.

    I just don’t see it happening this year. Unless you can get a quality starter in return.

    • “One of these guys” in the article does not specify Duvall or Schebler, I think it implies Winker could be in play as well. If you want a quality starter, you need to offer a package of prospects, and a blocked high-quality outfielder is something I’d offer if I were the Reds.

  4. Yes! This is where we are. In the words of Yoda “Logic none there is.”

  5. I imagine that Luis Castillo is the next pitcher to enter the Twilight Zone known as the Red’s starting rotation.

  6. I like how, starting with Rookie Davis, we went from “Bad” to “bad.” Once we go lowercase, you know Jason has had it!!!

  7. Orel Hershiser was a closer for Albuquerque, who wanted to start. The Dodgers resisted until they finally was given the opportunity to start. So it could work for Lorenzen or Iglesias.

    • Been hearing a lot of clamoring for Lorenzen to start, but have we just resigned that Iglesias is a reliever? I thought he had several starts of 7+ innings, if the argument he was injured as a starter, why are they not moving Bailey, Disco and Finnegan to the bullpen

      • If Lorenzen moved to the rotation, I think Bailey would be great in the bullpen. But then you are paying a bullpen arm 20 million. So that’s not going to happen. It would be easy if we could just ignore the salary number and and plug a guy in where he will help the team the most.
        Bailey + Lorenzen = 1 starter and 1 reliever for the same price. Does it matter which one does what?

        • I agree, it doesn’t really matter which one does what. I would actually be more concerned with which of the 2 is more physically capable of starting without it leading to DL time.

  8. I see no mention of Billy in the outfield conundrum. I like having Billy in the line-up, and I know he saves lots of runs defensively, and perhaps he (at least alone) would not bring the same trade benefit as any of the other three, but it seems moving Schebler to center and moving Winkler to right is an option too.

    • Interesting but Billy’s arm is twice as good as Scheblers even though Scheb is 10x stronger. There is only 1 Billy! You might be right though? If I was Colorado or Arizona then I would def call about Billy. Any team that already has a good offense and has a huge outfield to cover. He’d prob hit 20 triples in Colorado and every third hit thru the infield would be a double because the outfield has to play so deep and cover so much! Can Winker produce enough offense?

  9. One name that wasn’t mentioned as a possible starter was Cingrani. He was a starter and he was really good in 2013. In 2014, he looked good at times and got tagged with a bunch of homers at other times. We forget, he was only 24 then. In 2015, he got moved to the bullpen and that really hasn’t gone too well for him. Frankly, even his mediocre 2014 performance would be a big improvement over our current starters.

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