Cingrani Move to Reds Pen Has Familiar Feel


May 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cingrani (52) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

The decision was made to keep Tony Cingrani up with the Reds and option Pedro Villarreal back to Louisville. Call it a backup plan in case Reds ace Johnny Cueto isn’t completely healthy.

A collective sigh falls over Redsland…

The decision has also been made to have Cingrani become a member of the Reds injury-riddled bullpen. With the activation of Johnny Cueto from the disabled list, some may have felt that Cingrani may have been destined to head back to Louisville.

Call me guilty on that last thought. For those adhering to that thought, the reasoning is of a belief that Cingrani should continue to work on his secondary pitches and taking the mound every fifth game is the best tonic. And do not mention a six-man rotation…

And this has the slightest of reminders of an event that occurred back in 2010.

It was June 18, 2010. Aroldis Chapman would make his last professional start other than spring training games. He was then a member of the Louisville Bats. It wasn’t exactly the best of games as Chapman went 6.1 innings, surrendering four runs (two earned) on four hits.

And Reds fans have been divided on what role Chapman should play ever since.

Could we be looking at the same situation involving Cingrani? The Reds had previously stated they would not make such a move.

There are the obvious differences between Chapman and Cingrani. One throws 100 MPH with regularity. The other is now known to make a peculiar face.

First, Chapman had primarily served as a starter as a member of Cuba’s national team and in its top-tier baseball league prior to becoming a member of the Reds. Despite being used as a starter in his meteoric rise through the Reds organization, Cingrani was used as a reliever, a closer no less, in his final season at Rice. He had 12 saves that season.

When the Reds drafted Cingrani in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft, they saw starter, a role he had served a bit in his first year at Rice. Of Cingrani’s 45 minor league games, he has started in 44 of those. He owns a 16-6 record, an ERA of 1.65 and a WHIP of 0.945 in those 45 games.

Cingrani sustained greater success as a starter than Chapman. There is absolutely no argument.

In 2010, Walt Jocketty had combed through his former Cards Rolodex to bring in both Russ Springer and Jason Isringhausen to the Reds. Izzy never donned a Reds uniform in a game, but he did manage to pitch in 53 games for the Mets in 2011 and 50 games for the Angels just last season. Springer pitched all of 1.2 innings before calling it a career the following January.

The Reds were searching for pen additions that season. Chapman filled a need.

Entering 2013, the prevailing thought was that the Reds had arguably the best bullpen in the biz. Injuries have played a part in the apparent “downfall”. Sean Marshall is on the DL for the second time this season. Jonathan Broxton recently became a resident of the DL as well. Add that the pen hasn’t exactly performed this season as well as it did last season.

The Reds were searching for pen additions this season. Cingrani fills a need.

Now, Dusty has a lefty with the ability to get lefty batters out. Righties, too.

My hope is that this move doesn’t go beyond this season. Wasn’t supposed to with Chapman.