Apr 1, 2012; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Three big lefty bats in Votto (left), Bruce (center), and Lutz (right) (Photo:Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Let the Reds Roster and Lineup Juggling Begin

One aspect of the Reds 2012 season that was touted was the issue of health. While the Good Guys did see their perennial All-Star Joey Votto hit the disabled list for almost two months and Scott Rolen appear on it more than once, the number of health concerns were not great.

Welp, after only one game into the 2013 season, that might be tested. Sure, having no Votto to pencil into the lineup is a big deal, but Cincy did post a more than respectable record in his absence (33-16 including games missed prior to DL stint). Now the Reds brass will have to determine which move to make in order to replace Ryan Ludwick who left yesterday’s game with a separated shoulder. He will have an MRI today, but I think time on the DL is on the horizon for #48.

As far as the 40-man roster goes, there is no player from an outfield perspective that can immediately contribute this team. I know Donald Lutz, who has played some left field in the minors and in spring training, had a good spring (.277/.327/.532 with 2 HR and 12 RBI), but he only has 165 plate appearances at the Double-A level. We talk about not rushing Billy Hamilton, this is the same situation.

And don’t even get the Hamilton stuff going…

Twitter even created rumblings of a Rolen return. Seriously? I know Rolen has his fans, but I don’t know of many that were all that depressed when it was announced he would not be in Goodyear.

What about selecting the contract of either Derrick Robinson or Denis Phipps? How about Emmanuel Burriss?

These scenarios (not including Lutz) would require a move on the 40-man roster. If that’s the route the Reds pursue, one move could be placing Nick Masset on the 60-day DL.

There’s been the chatter (not limited to Twitter, by the way) of moving Todd Frazier to left field in Ludwick’s absence – which might be better defensively – and allow Jack Hannahan to man third base. In this process, a promotion of Henry Rodriguez could be in the offering and no move on the 40-man would need to take place.

Don’t forget the Reds already have two reserve outfielders on the 25-man in Chris Heisey and Xavier Paul. Could we see a platoon of the two?

The bigger concern would pertain to the “new” batting order. All seemed lined up just so perfectly. Now, not so much. I know there are those that think it is high time Dusty put Jay Bruce in the clean-up spot, but I simply cannot see that and I’m not even considering what took place from the Beaumont Bomber yesterday (0-for-5, 4 SO, 7 LOB).

Gotta say I actually agree with Lance McAlister’s take on how the lineup may shake out in Ludwick’s absence.

It is same to assume Dusty moves Brandon Phillips back to cleanup.
I’d think Baker moves Zack Cozart to 2nd.
Zack made 27 starts in the #2 spot last year: .324/.378.
Brandon has made 467 career starts batting 4th, that’s 286 more starts than any other spot in the batting order: .282-.331-.454-.785.

Lance also points out that ToddFather’s most productive lineup spot is 7th and Heisey’s is 6th with 2nd being Heisey’s second best. And I pointed out in the comments section from last night’s recap that I thought having Cozart and BP in these spots could happen.

Taking this into consideration…

Choo
Cozart
Votto
BP
Bruce
Heisey
Frazier
Hanigan
Pitcher’s spot

You could leave Frazier in the  6th spot and have Paul bat 7th on days Paul garners a start, something I’m sure Dusty would love having the lefty-righty all the way down the lineup. And even if you have Hannahan man third base and place Frazier in left, Frazier in the 6-hole with Hannahan batting 7th is a possibility and there’s that same lefty-righty deal.

Of course, it will depend on the prognosis following the results of Luddy’s MRI. If no DL stay is necessary, then this was all for naught.

Okay…I now have a headache.

Let me know your thoughts on this…

UPDATE 4/3/13: Per Mark Sheldon, Ludwick is scheduled to undergo surgery today to repair torn cartilage in his separated shoulder.

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