Cincinnati Reds see their first starting pitcher for 2017 go down in 2016

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cincinnati Reds have just found out that their potential replacement for Homer Bailey in the rotation, John Lamb, won’t be ready for the beginning of 2017.

This is becoming old hat for the Cincinnati Reds.  They think that they find a solution for a spot in the rotation and a pitcher injures himself.  This time it is lefty John Lamb who is in worse shape than expected.

Lamb went through a surgery to fix a lumbar herniation in his back.  If he wasn’t a professional athlete, he probably would have taken injections and completed physical therapy.  Instead, he is likely going to be out until sometime in May.

This is the second year in a row in which Lamb has missed time with a  back injury.  It makes one wonder if he is going to be unable to remain a starter going forward with his career.  As it is, Lamb only averages five innings per start on the nose.

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Lamb made 14 starts for Cincinnati and three for Louisville before going on the Triple A disabled list on August fourth with a sore elbow.  Since coming over in the Johnny Cueto deal, Lamb has made a total of 24 MLB starts.  Unfortunately, his ERA has been an Alfredo Simon-like 6.17.

Lamb may not be a fit in a major league rotation as he was the least talented of the three lefties the Reds got for Cueto.

When the Reds traded Cueto away, Cincinnati received the talented Cody Reed and the big league ready Brandon Finnegan.  Then there was the favorite new Red, Lamb.  Lamb fit nicely into the rotation for nearly a year, but never truly stuck.

Lamb has all off-season to figure where his career is going.  He’s started his entire professional career, but he needs to admit that he belongs in another role.  His numbers against righties is horrendous.  Against lefties, he is just a bit below average.

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Whether anyone even notices Lamb’s injury has a lot to do with what happens to Bailey and Reed.  If they both come back healthy, Lamb won’t even have a real shot at the rotation.  If either one of them remains injured when Lamb comes back in May, he might be able to get one last chance at being a big league starter with the Cincinnati Reds.  In any case, it’s way too early to be worrying about whether Michael Lorenzen will need to come out of the bullpen to start opening day a la Raisel Iglesias.