This week’s respondents are Steve Mancuso, Jackson Thurnquist, and yours truly.


Our Weekly Reds Obsession: If Anthony DeSclafani can actually return to the Reds in late May, whose spot in the current rotation — presuming all are healthy — will Disco take? And what will the Reds do with that pitcher?

Steve: Anthony DeSclafani should take Sal Romano’s place in the rotation. Romano should be sent to AAA to work on his control and third pitch. This isn’t giving up on Romano. There’s a good chance the Reds will trade Matt Harvey in the next month or so and could call Romano back then. On the other hand, given his dependence on one or two pitches, maybe Romano is a better fit in the bullpen.

Jackson: If everyone is healthy and performing at the levels we’ve come to expect from them, you’d like to think that DeSclafani would take the spot of either Bailey or Harvey. Neither of those two have a future with the Reds – Bailey will be a free agent after next year and has not proven himself to be even a passable starter after years of injury, and the best case scenario for Matt Harvey is that he is flipped at the deadline for a prospect or two.

However, there would be no sense in trying to flip Harvey if he’s not played, and Bailey, though currently sporting a handsome 6.11 ERA and baseball’s second worst FIP (6.07), is being payed $21MM this year and $23MM the next, and the Reds are not immune to the sunk cost fallacy. With that in mind, I have to imagine Sal Romano is the odd man out – he’s played at the lowest level so far of the three young starters, and has never represented much of a prospect for the Reds in the past. My best guess is that DeSclafani would replace Romano in the starting rotation, and Romano would spend a few weeks or months in Louisville until the Matt Harvey experiment ends — either by trade or meltdown.

Chad: I’ve already gone on record as saying that Homer Bailey needs to be sent to the bullpen at some point:

So why not try Bailey in the bullpen? I like Homer more than most Reds fans—and I think the Reds were justified in offering him that big contract all those years ago—but 2019 will be his final year in Cincinnati (unless the Reds pick up his option and pay him $25 million for 2020, which is as likely as the chances of me starting at shortstop on Opening Day). The club needs to see if they can get some value out of him before he fades off into the sunset.

Maybe a move to the bullpen will help Homer Bailey finally reach his potential as an ace; it’ll just be as a flame-throwing relief ace. That’s not what we envisioned back in 2012, but it might be the best we can hope for today.

So that’s what I think would be the most interesting choice. What do I expect to see happen? I think Sal Romano will get sent to Triple-A for a little while. I’m still high on Romano, but that wouldn’t be the worst decision in the world.

Actually, you know what I’d really like to see happen? I want to see the Reds get creative like the Tampa Bay Rays.

What do you think?

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 47 Comments

  1. Disco in for Bailey, who goes on the DL–and then to the minors if necessary.

    • Just the DL… Descalfani may only last a few starts with his injury history. I’d keep Ramano/Mahle/Castillo in the rotation.

  2. Big Sal.

  3. Whoever it is – stay close. The Kentucky Chrome holding Disco together wont stay on for very long.

  4. Who will he replace? Romano or Harvey. Who should he replace? By all means Iglesias (who is traded for prospects). AD may actually be able to stay off the DL pitching out of the bullpen the rest of this season. In the rotation? It’s a longshot he stays healthy for more than a month.

    • Mahle and Castillo are the only untouchables. The rotation should those 2 then Disco, then Harvey….. Garrett should be the 5th Starter because coming up on the All Star break and not needing a 5th starter all the time because of days, he could still be available for long relief work.

  5. How is this an issue? We are the worst team in baseball and have 5 starters who are below league average, anyone is eligible. The only considerations should be developmental ones.

  6. Chad, I think moving Bailey to the bullpen is the best option, but the reds will probably ship Romano to the minors. Disco would be great if he could go the entire year without another injury, but that seems unlikely. Not a lot of great choices here, as this starting staff is one of the worst in baseball, and most of the promising arms are in AA.

  7. I think that is an easy one. I’d send Mahle down to AAA because he has given up the most HR’s in the National League. He has some things to work on. And while they are at it, it would get that 1 year of service time back. Unions, aren’t going to utter a word about it. With several off days anyway coming up in the next 3-4 weeks, a 5th starter isn’t all that needed anyway.
    Bring up Stephenson for Mahle now. Then when Stephenson meets his inevitable implosion in about 6 weeks, bring Mahle back up.
    When DeSclafani is activated and added to the roster, send Big Sal down. He has some things to work on also. If Homer doesn’t come around soon enough, move him to the pen and bring Big Sal back up. Or if Harvey is traded, then bring Big Sal up. Neither Mahle or Romano have much time at AAA as it is, so 6-8 weeks isn’t going to matter much for Romano, but it sure will get that extra year of service time back for Mahle.
    There comes a time where consistently getting their brains beaten in by ML hitters can be counter-productive and the time at AAA can be used to get some confidence back. This might be the time.

    • Mahle is likely pitching hurt. He usually touches 95, 96mph when he rears back, in his last start he was struggling to hit 90,91.

      • I saw his velocity was down too. Hoping he just was having a bad day and he isn’t pitching hurt. If he’s hurt, he needs to be shut down. He isn’t doing anyone, including himself, any good pitching hurt in a lost season. Still, I’m hoping it’s just one of those days he couldn’t get loose and didn’t have his stuff. That happens sometimes. Or a guy is just sore and can’t get it crankin’

  8. It may well end up being an academic debate. Desclafani is as injury prone as Bailey or Cueto during their tenures as Reds with even less of a track record to justify unlimited patience. Second point would be that, as Bailey’s career has shown, it is no given that a starter will return after a prolonged time out with the same effectiveness as before.

    • He’s more injury prone than either of those two as he’s never made it through a full season healthy. Both Cueto and Bailey hit over 200 IP and over 30 starts a couple years in a row.

  9. Trade Bailey for Choo. Move Raisel and Garrett into the starting rotation and trade Hamilton to the Hamilton Tiger Cats, who are desperate for a slot receiver, for future considerations. Move Gennett to lead-off.

    • Raisel will blow out his shoulder if you put him in the rotation.
      Garrett needs to work up to it.
      How much is Choo owed, would this save us any money?

  10. The answer has to be Bailey to the bullpen. If he is to be of any value to the Reds this year and next it’s going to have to be coming out of the bullpen. Heck, trade Iglesias, make Bailey your closer and see if that can work. If it does, maybe he’s tradeable provided the Reds eat the rest of his contract, and if he stinks, oh well, they’re already the worst team in the NL.

    The scary thing is that, really, none of the younger SP have even come remotely close to proving themselves this year. Reed and Stephenson can’t get out of AAA. Castillo (FIP 4.89) Romano (FIP 5.43) and Mahle (5.41 FIP) have all been extremely pedestrian at best. I get that they are young (though inexperienced is probably the better word because they aren’t THAT young), but it’s still extremely depressing to see how bad they all have been, save Amir Garrett who has been relegated to the bullpen for some reason.

    In 2010, the Reds “young” rotation looked like:
    Cueto (24, 3.97 FIP)
    Travis Wood (23, 3.42 FIP)
    Homer (24, 4.46 FIP)
    Mike Leake (22, 4.55 FIP)
    Volquez (26, 4.00 FIP)

    The season is young still, but guys like Stephenson and Reed are already older than everyone in that 2010 rotation except Volquez and they can’t even break into the big leagues.

    • Looking at the 2009 rotation, the Reds had the following six starting pitchers:

      Arroyo (3.84 ERA, 4.78 FIP)
      Cueto (4.41 ERA, 4.69 FIP)
      Harang (4.21 ERA, 4.14 FIP)
      Owings (5.34 ERA, 5.67 FIP)
      Bailey (4.53 ERA, 4.41 FIP)
      Justin Lehr (5.37 ERA, 6.30 FIP)

    • Actually, Homer at closer is the only bullpen role that I think works for him. He takes a while to get loose which doesn’t work for a long reliever, middle-reliever, or setup guy. As a closer, he can start getting loose in the 6th inning or so almost like he would if he’s starting a game. Of course it’s also possible with more use he won’t take as long to get ready to pitch.

      I’m rooting so hard for Bailey. I remember his first start and feeling “He isn’t ready yet but he’s got some stuff and he’s a battler.” Then there’s the fact that the Reds really need to get some sort of value out of the contract. I’m not sure the bullpen will work or not but maybe after a few more starts, if Bailey still is getting lit up like a Christmas tree, it would be worth trying.

      • there’s no if about it – Bailey is being lit up like C4 let alone a 4th of July or memorial day display.

        there’s only one place for him as a sunk cost and Cincy isn’t going to do the prudent thing and cut him off the way the Twins just had to with Hughes – stick him into the bullpen for LOW LOW leverage situations only until if and when Bailey finds a way to get batters out. only when the Reds are behind by 5 runs or more (happens pretty often so Homer will have plenty of work) or when the good guys grab a 6 run lead or better (….maytag repairman situation…)

  11. I am done with the disco, reed, Finnegan, lamb reds era myself.
    just stick disco in the bullpen and see if he can stay healthy for a long enough time to trade him

    I would rather give Stephenson and garret a few more chances as a starter myself.

  12. Perfect world says ditch Bailey as he is awful now and is wasting a rotation spot. They will probably send Sal down and work on his control, just like every other young pitcher (thrower) the Reds have

  13. Hopefully homer, probably Sal. Sal needs to work on this control just like every other young pitcher (thrower) the Reds have.

  14. Hey Chad. Time I see your new picture, I think you have grown long gray hair. I guess it’s a trick of the background…..

  15. Homer. I don’t understand people saying “Send Romano to the minors to work on his 3rd pitch”, he can work on his 3rd pitch in the MLB. And, bonus, he gets instant feedback on what works and what doesn’t work against MLB hitters, something he wouldn’t get in AAA (which is why someone like Bob Steve can get people out in AAA but not MLB).

    • amen. and with Danny Darwin we have a real pitching coach to offer guidance and technical advice to develop an out pitch for Roman – not a standin like Price who took credit but had very little to do with the development of pitchers like Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, and Leake who came ready made to deliver 33, 32 starts a season. (i’ll give price a little credit for Homer’s development….but probably very little to do with technical adjustments)

  16. I wonder if the Reds could find a trade partner for Homer Bailey similar to the trade the Dodgers and Braves did for Matt Kemp. Debt for Debt or close to it. Looking around the MLB landscape and there are not too many teams fitting that description, except maybe for the Texas Rangers. Is Texas going to tear it down and enter the infamous Rebuild Zone?
    Homer Bailey for Cole Hamels? We know the money owed Bailey, $21MM this year (~$14MM to go), $23MM in 2019, and $5MM buyout of 2020 option. About a total of $42MM.
    Cole Hamels has $22.5MM this year (~$15MM to go) and a $6MM buyout of 2019 option. About a total of $21MM.
    The money doesn’t equal out and the Rangers don’t have but a couple of players that they could add to equal it out, 3B Adrian Beltre and LHP Matt Moore. Neither of interest to the Reds. So the Reds would have to add 2-3 good prospects for the Rangers to take on Bailey. Or add $$$ to the deal. Texas may want prospects since their farm system is a bit weak now for a rebuild. Texas is also LH heavy in the starting pitching department and the Reds are deep in the RH starting pitching department. The match is there if they look hard enough. And Bailey goes home to Texas.

    • Small goof. Cots has Hamels 2018 salary at $23.5MM, Fangraphs had $22.5MM. So that would reduce the difference by $1MM to $20MM instead. A small gain in the Reds favor.

    • Or Bailey for Hunter Pence of the Giants. He is owed $18.5 million this year, then becomes a free agent. Pence is currently on the DL, but it would be worth considering, especially if the Reds could package Hamilton with Bailey. The Giants need starting pitching and AT&T park could help Bailey avoid giving up as many homers. Plus, if Pence is halfway productive when he returns from the DL, the Reds could try to flip him at the deadline for a lower level prospect.

    • Something along those lines could work but the Reds really can’t afford to give up prospects. Honestly, if it comes down to having to do that, and I hope it doesn’t because it would be sad, the Reds would be better served just DFA Bailey. I still think they need to give him a few more starts and then maybe try the pen before they DFA him though.

  17. They are not going to give up on Bailey that easily. Romano is probably the guy sent to AAA. Whatever happens is most likely temporary, because someone will get injured and there is always a chance of a trade of Harvey (that seems unlikely) or a salary dump of Bailey (also unlikely). My guess is Bailey is given the entire year to figure it out so he could be traded next year without the Reds paying the entire salary. Harvey could be traded more easily, but he has a very short time to rebuild value. There are probably innings limitations to take into consideration with the rotation as the year goes on as well.

  18. Desclafani should take Homer’s spot. We should move Homer to the bullpen and see what he can do there over the rest of the season.

  19. Desclafani will take the spot of Romano or Mahle either way it really makes no difference. I believe both have enough to work on. I have proposed for over a year of sending Bailey to the pen, but I doubt it happens. Trading him is not an option unless you can find an owner and GM that just woke up from 2012. Let’s hope the switch has been flipped for Harvey and we can then flip him for a MLB ready youngster.

  20. Bailey thinks he has to throw another no hitter to have a 50 percent chance of team winning the game.

  21. I think Disco will be hurt within a couple/few starts. It doesn’t really matter whose spot he’ll take b/c he’s gonna be on the DL again…

  22. Boy, I hope we don’t have to live through you playing shortstop on top of everything else this team is putting us through.

  23. He will replace Romano after he threw his second stinker in a row in start # 24 in the big leagues.Guess we should trade him now since 24 starts surely are enough for us to say he won’t make it in the big leagues.Lucky for Mahle that his start yesterday was his 14th in the big leagues so it looks like he will get a few more before he gets traded.

  24. Castillo has 25 starts so he can be traded but we will have to give Bob 6 more and Reed 9 more to reach 25.Sure hope we can get something for these guys even though they won’t ever make it.Can’t see anybody even wanting these guys but you never know.

  25. “Reds were justified in offering him that big contract…”. Him was just average when he was healthy. 2 no-nos are just that…2 wins. They just don’t learn: Griffey, Mes, Votto, Bailey.

    • What was the lesson that they were supposed to learn? To not sign good/rising good players. With the except of Votto, all were injury plagued after their signing. I know Bailey had arm issues when he came up but he had 2+1/2 very solid seasons (not average) when injuries set in again. After the 2012, 13 seasons I would’ve signed him too. Bailey’s stats:

      2012 13-10 3.68/3.97 (ERA/FIP) 208.0 IP
      2013 11-12 3.49/3.31 209.0
      2014 9-5 3.71/3.93 145.2

      What if Griffey, Meso, Bailey has stayed healthy? There would be no complaints. Hindsight is 20/20. The beef should be about missed opportunities, such trading Chapman, Frazier sooner rather than later; trading for Yelich; and here’s another opportunity: signing Manny Machado in the off-season! There I said it! The Reds FO can take the financial strain for a seasons until Bailey’s contract is done and stop signing avg to below avg players to middling contracts.

      I don’t think there has to be regret signing the aforementioned players. Regret should be there when opportunities to trade for or sign FA franchise cornerstone players are passed over.

      • It’s like these guys just don’t want to give out any contracts. The Votto contract for example has been solid, yet he cited it. The Griffey contract was considered a steal at the time. It’s only in hindsight that is was bad. He’ll probably be unhappy with the Suarez contract at some point. Paying players? Preposterous.

      • I’m with Phil….it’s about risk vs. reward.

        The suarez contract is a very good one – the risk isn’t too bad (the amount of the contract) while the potential reward relative to that risk is great (an excellent offensive AND defensive player while Suarez is in his prime and not long after).

        The Votto contract was BACK BACK loaded, so the Reds had a HUGE discount upfront….but we stole from the future to pay for the 2010-2018 present. the next several years are when this comes back to bite the Reds in the Bhole.

        Homer was the Reds third best starter at best, and they paid him market to retain him – but this ‘market’ is an average of the BIG revenue teams with SMALL revenue teams. The Reds being a SMALL revenue team cannot afford market contracts – you need bargains, such as what they got with Suarez.

        The Votto Homer and Devin contracts are not viable contracts for a small market team. Learn from the Pirates, Tampa Bay, Kansas City (until they overpaid for Alex Gordon, Jason Hammel, the other crappy starter who’s name escapes me…). Be smarter. Take good solid risks, or the mistakes you make will cost you several years of lousiness.

  26. Right now who cares this team stinks. Bring Bob Steve up and let him pitch. They act like they don’t want him to come up because he walks to many people. What’s the difference between him and Nibbles Romano and his walks? Or Homer and his 10 hits a game? This team isn’t competing in this division for years.

  27. Like most I expect Romano to go down until Harvey is moved. What I would propose is a trade with Tampa for Archer involving Long and TySteve and BobSteve and Romano for Archer. Move Harvey for a prospect to the highest bidder and move Iglesias to a contender for a king’s ransom.

  28. I cant believe you think the Reds were justified in singing Bailey to the big contract????? Knew it was bad then and even worse now. Thanks Joc.

  29. Disco for Romano so Romano can work on throwing trikes. He throws about 25 pitches per inning right now. Disco will never stay healthy so Romano will be back fairly soon. If Disco can stay healthy and pitches well, trade him! Bailey is done! Trade Iglasius at the deadline as well as Hamilton and Duvall.
    Our first rebuild has not gone very well so it is time for round 2. We suck!

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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