Aug 18, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Biggest news item for the Reds this spring will be that of Chapman. (Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports)

Little Drama as Reds Prepare for Goodyear

Tomorrow’s the day. A day baseball fans have been waiting for since that fateful day in October. Pitchers and catchers report to the spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona. And with that, the Reds side of things in Goodyear (they share the complex with the Cleveland Indians) seem to be pretty much in place. There should be very little drama from a Reds perspective.

Roster battles should be minimal. Chatter should be as well.

One question: Can newly acquired Jason Donald hold off the veteran Cesar Izturis for the backup middle infield job? Donald showed some promise a couple of years ago when he was a member for the Phillies organization (he was Baseball America’s #69 overall prospect prior to the ’09 season). In limited duty in 2011, Donald played well for the Tribe, too. It should also be pointed out that Donald does hold a little experience as an outfielder, too. That could work even more in his favor. Remember, Dusty did use Wilson Valdez (as a starter four times) and Kristopher Negron (as a sub in one game) in center last season.

Izturis not only has spent a few years in the bigs, he also is the owner of a Gold Glove. We know the Reds love their defense. Izturis is hoping they love it a lot as that might be the only shot he has at passing Donald. His possesses a weak bat and that has been well documented. His highest OPS+ for any season in his 12 year career is…88 in 2004. Last year, that was 58. His career OPS+ is 64. Average is 100. Don’t have to be a math genius to determine that’s pretty bad.

The switch of Aroldis Chapman from one of 2012’s most dominant closer to the starting rotation will possibly grab most of the attention. If the Cuban Missile can duplicate what he posted during spring training last year (2-0, 2.12 ERA, 17 IP, 18 SP, 2 BB in 5 games), those that doubt the move may begin to ever so slowly shift their opinion.

There will possibly be one and the other name most likely to be mentioned is Mike Leake.  Can he adjust to a bullpen role?  Maybe the question to answer there is will the Reds attempt to use Chapman as a starter for the bulk of the season.  Could Leake snag a spot start to limit Chappy’s innings?  Many questions surround those situations and they have a large overlap.

There could be the usual bouts for bullpen jobs with Leake being involved to some extent.  The roster appears to be mostly set for 2013.

The only remaining “issue” (if you can call it that) would be concerning Scott Rolen.

Yes, I’ll leave that alone.

Tags: Cincinnati Reds

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