Cincinnati Reds’ Sal Romano makes headway on attempt to join the opening day rotation

Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Reds are in desperate need for starting pitching and Sal Romano is trying to take advantage.

The Cincinnati Reds are down two starters from their projected rotation after the trade of Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins.  That means that they are three starters down from where they thought they were at the end of the 2016 season.  Brandon Finnegan and Robert Stephenson were the only two holdovers from the original rotation to start the off-season.

Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey are both out with arm injuries.  Right now, Bailey’s looks to be the worse of the two.  For his part, Stephenson has had an awful spring.

That leaves Finnegan surrounded by a bunch of question marks like he’s auditioning to be the Riddler.  Unfortunately, this is not Gotham and the Reds need heroes.  That’s were Romano could ultimately step-in.

Over four appearances, Romano has already pitched 10 2/3 innings striking out a team leading 16.  With a 1.03 WHIP and .211 BAA, Romano has been the best starting pitcher in camp for the Reds.  The only other person who has been close is Amir Garrett.

Romano has been turning heads all spring long.  Before the wheels came off of the Stephenson train and Bronson Arroyo got off to a slow start, Romano looked to be in play for the last spot in the bullpen.  As a result, Romano could be in play for the opening day start.

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The Cincinnati Reds may have to start Scott Feldman and hope Bronson Arroyo can play catch-up.

Right now, only Finnegan is a sure thing in the rotation. It appears that Garrett and Feldman will be in the rotation.  That leaves one spot open, assuming Arroyo can get ready in time.

Romano isn’t a shoo-in yet, but he is close.  Stephenson and last year’s pitching savior, Tim Adleman, appear to have squandered their chances.  Keury Mella looks impressive too, but he has only pitched an inning at a time so far.

Mella, who was the key player in the Mike Leake deal, has been relieving this spring.  Over the long-term the Reds view him as the next Johnny Cueto.  This year he will likely start games for Triple-A Louisville, while the Reds get him ready for a chance at Cincinnati in 2018.

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That, therefore, leaves the door open for Romano.  He is a starting pitcher with the right pedigree to make this sort of move.  So Romano is the one pitcher in camp capable of making the leap.