The Reds travel to Maryvale to play the Milwaukee Brewers. Game starts at 4:05 p.m. ET No radio or TV broadcast. Only MLB.com. Bryan Price’s lineup:

  1. Billy Hamilton CF
  2. Phil Gosselin 3B
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Adam Duvall LF
  5. Brandon Dixon 2B
  6. Jesse Winker RF
  7. Jose Peraza SS
  8. Tucker Barnhart C
  9. Michael Lorenzen P

Looks like pitchers are starting to hit today. Other pitchers on the traveling squad: Shackelford, Herget, Rainey, Stephens, Weiss and Crockett. Only two backup infielders listed, Nick Senzel and Alex Blandino.

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar, Cincinnati Enquirer

Battle Starting Pitcher Assuming: Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo and Sal Romano are three of the five; Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan are sidelined with injuries; Robert Stephenson has failed to lock down a spot; and Tyler Mahle, while deserving, is likely to start the year at AAA for service time reasons … two of Lorenzen, Cody Reed and Amir Garrett have solid shots to make the rotation.

Lorenzen Opportunity That means this is a high-stakes start for Michael Lorenzen. His fourth official appearance in a Cactus League game, Lorenzen also started one B-game. In the 6.2 innings of real games, he has 9Ks and 2BBs. Lorenzen has been far from shy in stating his case that he wants to start. The ball is in his hands literally and metaphorically. How to judge his start? Again, ignore hits and runs. A better indication of how he’s pitching will be walks, strikeouts and ground ball/weak contact.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 64 Comments

  1. What we give Geno 65 Mil more or less, and he wants a day off?
    (Just joking)

  2. Not sure Mahle is going to fall victim to the worry of MLB playing time clock. Unlike Senzel, he’s not learning a new position, and flat out looks to be ready. Also, when you look at what teams are trying to do (re. Suarez, Barnhart), I think there is less reason to worry about the Super 2 status. If Mahle looks to be good enough, then I think this team will do what it can to sign him long term, thus making this super two status rather irrelevant. I think Price showed his hand today to some degree. Bailey, Castillo, Romano, Mahle, and Garrett. I hope that’s the way it turns out. I think all 4 of those young kids can be outstanding.

    • Delaying Mahle’s arrival to mid-May isn’t about Super Two status. It’s about spreading his six years of team control over seven seasons. It’s the difference between whether he becomes a free agent in 2024 or 2025.

      • Steve I understand that, but if he’s a legitimate quality pitcher, I doubt it will matter, because the team will most likely sign him long term. If not, then they should look to trade him as that time comes around. If you look at the Reds over the last 10 years, when has keeping a player that came through their system been an issue? In most cases they were signed. Frankly, Cozart’s was one of the few, and his was odd, in that he finally had a great season in his last year. I think if Mahle wins the job, the team does itself a disservice if they ignore that and send the kid down.

        • Getting the extra year of control is the smart business move, especially if the Reds don’t think they will compete this year. I don’t agree with the way the agreement is written, but an extra year of control is significant

          • Bill, in principle, I do agree with you, but sometimes the PR move outweighs. Again, looking back at the last 10 years, when was this ever really an issue for the Reds. A long term contract, or a subpar outcome for Mahle really makes the “business” move side of these decisions rather academic.

          • The “good PR move” doesn’t outweigh 10-18 million dollars (or more if he’s great).

        • 6 weeks, maybe 8 starts. 1 season, 30-plus starts. It’d be nice to see him up and no one can say he’s not earning it. The system is unfair. But, it is the system and it would be irresponsible for a team looking to get to .500 (or any team, really) to make that trade of short for long term benefits. He’s in AAA, sorry.

          • Absolutely, and one additional arcane but potentially significant aspect of the service time issue is that gaining the extra year of control may help the Reds in negotiating a contract down the road.

      • Isn’t that exactly what Cubs did with Kris Bryant?

        • Which is why Kris Bryant is fighting over the screwing of his service time in arbitration.

      • Make Mahle the 5th man in the rotation. With the early off day or two early he won’t be needed the first time through the rotation. When they feel Finnegan is ready he gets sent down. He then becomes the first call up because of an injury or ineffectiveness.

        • They could do this, or something like this. Mahle has to accrue about 47 days of time in the minor leagues at some point during the season. The Reds tried this last year with Amir Garrett. Garrett made the OD roster and after making several starts (a few of which were really good), he was demoted to AAA. It didn’t work out so well, but it’s hard to tease out the role his injury was playing along the way. If the Reds were to put Mahle on the OD roster and he pitched well, it might be hard to send him down. Also, if there are any other injuries, the easy substitution for Finnegan wouldn’t be enough. But definitely worth considering.

        • Mahle has pitched well at every level. He hasn’t had the fits and starts of CR or ML or RS or even AG.

          Don’t bring him up until you are committing to him every 5 th day. He’s earned. Send him to Louisville to get off to good start and in a routine and then bring him up for good at the right time in late spring.

    • If the Reds had held Mike Leake in the minor leagues for another week, they would have had him for an entire extra season. Whether that translated into more wins or more trade value, the extra year of a mature pitcher is worth substantially more to the organization than the few starts in a rookie season. Not even a close call.

  3. Big start for Lorenzen. He’ll face a very good Major League lineup today. Just as Mahle did yesterday. Hopefully Lorenzen is equally as impressive.
    All those bullpen guys listed are battling hard for spots too. Skackleford is probably a lock to make it. Would love to see Rainey with a 1-2-3 inning with 3 K’s.
    It is getting down to nitty gritty time.

  4. Where do you all think Quackenbush standsright now?

    • Not sure how his minor league contract is structured. If he has an opt-out, I would think the Reds would have to seriously at least consider him for a bullpen spot. I think there are other guys who based on their track-records and history in the Reds’ organization, have a better argument for staying with the big club though. He’s apparently thrown well in the spring though. His numbers look real good (6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 R (unearned))…. Spring training is spring training though.

  5. With the injuries to Disco (weeks) and Finnegan (days), I don’t think the competition for the starting rotation includes 5 available position to begin the season, just 4, until April 9th when a 5th starter will be needed or April 14th if they use bullpen arm(s) for the April 9th game.

    I agree that Bailey, Castillo and Romano appear to be locks for the starting rotation, leaving the competition for the one available starting slot between Stephenson, Mahle, Garrett and Lorenzen. I also agree that Mahle will be assigned to AAA for 6-8 weeks before being considered for a promotion. With Stephenson looking particularly unimpressive, I can’t see him making the cut, at least as the 4th starter. Ditto for Reed. That really leaves the competition for the one immediately available starter between Garrett and Lorenzen. Carpe Diem gentlemen.

    • Stephenson may have made himself a longshot right now, but if he pitches well in his next turn, they may still take him East (Cincy). He just hasn’t had command of his pitches like he did late last summer.
      Lorenzen could still end up in the bullpen (long man right now), or Garrett may fall away too. Early on, he was throwing real hard, and wonder if he can sustain that?

      • Long response…apology in advance.

        Despite performance, I expect that the best (interim) solution is to keep Stephenson with the team coming back from AZ…but not necessarily for the long term Reasoning as follows: (a) we’ve had three plus years of him under the microscope. He -can- perform (see late last year). (b) the -problem- is that he appears to be the type of pitcher that requires an inordinate amount of structure and constant, regularly scheduled work to bring him to that point (see also last year when he needed half a year at Louisville to get to the level he demonstrated in the last quarter-season with the big team) and (c) he seems to need this every year to replace whatever has faded in the offseason.

        So bring him along for the initial 6-8 weeks that Mahle will be held in AAA. That would be, what, 8-9 starts? By then, either (a) he’s worked into form and probably stays,(b) the time clock enables Mahle to come up and Stevenson goes back to Louisville where he can continue to work in a regular and structured pattern in the hope that he’s ready to come back late season when other arms hit innings limits – or someone goes down (Bullpen or irregular MLB starts will only lead, IMHO, to regression – he -needs- structure and repetition), (c) we finally decide to fish and/or cut bait.

        My concern is that, although he clearly has demonstrated capability in short runs, he’s going to be stuck on the AAA/MLB cusp forever because it will take too much time each year to get him up to “escape velocity”. The tragedy in this is that, for every season we continue to indulge this, his value in trade is slowly degraded. The best solution, for the Reds and for Bob Steve, might have been a trade 18-24 months ago where he would have been able to bring substantial value in return based on his raw potential. (And if he bloomed under another set of coaches into a true MLB regular, I’d be happy for him.)

  6. Not looking good for Lorenzen today. 4-BB & 3-H in 3.0 innings. The walks are killing him. Lorenzen and Stephenson are having the same control issues. THat simply won’t play well in GABP.

    • Yep. The long ball aside, those walks will always haunt.

      Oh, and nice to see that Billy and Phil saw 6 whole pitches between them after that HR by Lorenzen. I’m sure it provides some encouragement to the opposing SP when he’s given up a dinger to his opposite number.

      • Gave up 2 but knocked in 1. Lowered his era to Marquis levels…progress I guess? The kid and hit and run and has a live arm. Why not? Beggars (and PDLs- Permanent DL) can’t be choosers.

      • I believe the pitch counts are fictional if there’s a strike out they say they were three pitches – if there’s a walk they say there are four pitches. They are not counting pitches on game day. For all we know each batter had 12 pitches each

    • No… Walks will kill at GABP. I mean, you know that HR are going to happen and it’s best you don’t put guys on before they do. Then, in general, if you’re locating for crap, you give up even more HR.

      • Lorenzen keeps the ball in the park pretty well atleast….and gets groundballs. He has some intangibles working in his favor but always seems to give up the big 2 out hit or something?

  7. If Mahle starts the year with the Reds but in theory shut him down Aug 1st, wouldn’t that fill a big gap till DeSclafani was ready and keep his innings to a reasonable level and make him a free agent in 2025?

  8. I would put Bailey/Castillo/Romano and Garrett as 1/2/3/4.
    I would put Mahle in Louisville till Mid May with the idea to manage his innings such that he can finish the year in September with the Reds.
    I would give Stephenson the # 5 start at Pittsburgh the first road trip and give him 3-4 starts in April. Reed and Lorenzen go to the bullpen- but as scripted long relief guys who pitch 3-4 innings every 3-5 days in April when someone is ineffective. They stay in ST as starters.
    Disco is out for months.
    Finnegan can use April to get ready.
    Shuffle the deck in mid may.

    It appears Price may be making the argument to start Mahle.

    • It’d be better to get full use of Mahle at the MLB level than waste innings toward an annual inning count limitation in the minor leagues. Screw his service time on the back end of the year or when guys like Finnegan and Disco are healthy rather than at the beginning when Mahle is needed. Castillo and Romano look good and ready; Garrett might be good, while Homer is only in the rotation because of his salary. Mahle is the second best starter on the team after Castillo. Why waste his arm like they did last year in the minors when it was clear the kid knows how to pitch.

      • Eh, we’re only talking a couple starts if he’s the 5th man in the rotation. He’ll be up soon enough. it’s not your money or mine but if it were, you’d be coming around on that thinking.

  9. That Winker guy can hit. Who knew?

  10. Winker is 3 for 3 today. It’s only ST but:

    AVG .406
    OBP .459
    SLG: .656

    Are these good?

    • Winker can hit. I’m his biggest fan .
      He needs to focus on the regular season and have a big year. Nothing matters right now.

    • If he was only a speedy CF or SS he could leadoff.

      • Unfortunately, he hasn’t proven to his manager or owner that he is an every day player….let alone lead off hitter. Nice spring but means nothing.
        March 29.

        • I am sooooooooooo ready for ST to wrap up and play some games that mean something. Two friggin weeks…sigh.

  11. Now 3 for 4. Send him to AAA!

    • Yeah, but even his out produced a run and moved a runner up. I didn’t see the play but it sounds like the Brewers were trying to turn a 4-6-3 double play and Winker beat the throw to 1B. Can’t hit and can’t run…yep out with the dishwater.

  12. im worried about lorenzen and peralta. I have more faith in Stephenson Last year he seemed to pull the other teams ace like four games in a row. He pitched well. Lorenzen and peralta pitched poorly down the stretch. What little I’ve seen this spring neither are looking impressive

  13. I knew Stephens was cannon fodder but I thought Crockett might be pretty good? I’m afraid this will be a long year but I’m still looking forward to it.

  14. I’m also not sold on Lorenzen as a starter. He wasn’t that good of a reliever, or hasn’t been since he “changed his mechanics”. There’s still time for him to right the ship, but right now it’s Mahle and Garrett showing the the best stuff while Bob Steve and ML continue to struggle.

    Lorenzen did homer today.
    Winker 3 hits….. Duvall, and Peraza had 2 hits.
    Billy has a hit in 4 straight games

    • Just to pick some nits, Winker had 3 hits today. Also pitched in with 1 run and 4 RBI’s.

    • VA, you’ve got the Old Cossack completely discombobulated (not an uncommon occurrence) with posts on duel threads and just like a sheep, I follow without a thought.

    • Agree. Lorenzen would better serve himself and the organization by pitching in the bullpen or converting to a position player. I just cannot see him throwing 700 innings over the next 4 years. How can anyone see this? He pitched like 50 innings total at Cal State!

  15. Hey, Tyler Stephenson made it into the game as a PH and produced a double.

  16. Geez, if Joey Votto doesn’t get his act together pretty quick, he may finish 2nd in the NL MVP voting by 5-6 votes rather than just 2 votes!

  17. For good reason we have been spending a lot of time thinking about how our starting pitchers are going they’re going to shake out and perform…but I’m a little concerned about the bull pen. Maybe its because I’m not familiar with most of them, and to be honest haven’t followed their ST stats. Anyone else worried?

    • Bullpens never seem to be a sure thing, unless you have the Nasty Boys or the Yankees a few years ago with Chapman, Miller, and Bentaces.

    • ST is just what it is: training and preparation for the regular season. Some good moves were made for the bullpen in the offseason and it should work out to be adequate as the season progresses.

    • The effectiveness of the bullpen is very dependent on effective starting pitching. If the starters can’t go deep into games, the bullpen will break down pretty quickly.

      • I’m not so sure the Reds have a great bullpen, but I’m pretty sure they’ll have quite a bit of depth in their extended bullpen (including Louisville). I can see where the Reds bullpen would utilize a rotation of 10-12 guys this year. Shuffling pitchers between Louisville & Cincy on a regular basis.

      • You’re absolutely right. If Price has to call on the bullpen before the 6th. inning in most games, they will soon be worn out.

    • I’ll add that bullpen guys tend to be higher effort pitchers and require more time to get ready for the season, and then actually just for the season to start itself.

      Spring stats are relatively meaningless overall and even more so for career bullpen guys, IMHO.

  18. Interesting comments by Price. Says Romano and Mahle have separated themselves from the pack. So much for Mahle starting the season at AAA. Garrett at #5 If Finnegan not ready. I have to believe Finnegan isn’t going to be ready.

    • No,Finnegan won’t be ready. Perhaps in May. And then, maybe in the bullpen until June or July.

      Disco: forget about him. Really. Stop expecting anything out of him. If he can pitch at all effectively this year, trade him. Please. We cannot keep expecting him to be able to pitch; he is just injury prone.

      Gary Nolan won 18 games and pitched in the World Series when he was 23 years old.

      • The demise of Brandon Finnegan is greatly exaggerated.

      • David, when Gary Nolan did that, it was a completely different era for pitchers. In those days, they didn’t play year-round on select teams and have specialized trainers. Most of the pitchers back then played during the summer and then had off-season jobs. Twenty-three-year-old pitchers today have made thousands — and perhaps tens of thousands — more pitches with their arm than someone in the late 60s or early 70s would have.

  19. If i remember correctly Gary had a number of shortened seasons due to injuries, but was there for us in ’75 and ’76.

  20. I think I see the Price lineup strategy. Spread your best hitters out as much as you can so that the opposing pitcher has to face one of them each inning rather than all of them back to back.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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