The Cincinnati Reds need to add about 30 starts and 200 innings to staff for 2018.
The Cincinnati Reds have five starting pitchers for 2018, but can’t expect them to stay healthy. Between righties Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani, the Reds would be lucky to get 40 starts. That is 24 starts right there.
Bailey, DeSclafani, Scott Feldman, Brandon Finnnegan and Bronson Arroyo all missed time due to injury in 2017. Feldman and Arroyo are both gone, with Arroyo retired. Finnegan and DeSclafani were injured when the season ended.
Most teams try to get 150 starts out of their starting five. One or two pitchers can cover the rest by picking up twelve starts here and there. The Reds saw sixteen different pitchers take the ball as a starter in 2017.
The Reds’ top five starters in 2017 made only 90 starts. Of course, the fifth starter in that scenario is rookie Luis Castillo who didn’t make his debut until mid-season. Supposing that he adds twelve starts and Finnegan is healthy, that still leaves the team 30 starts short.
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Assuming that the Reds could find an exact replicate of Feldman, they would still be short. 34 starts are missing from the retirement of Arroyo and the departure of Tim Adleman. It is really this duo that the Reds need to replace.
The Cincinnati Reds need to look for a low cost veteran that can fill the starting pitching gap.
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One possible starting pitching option is Jhoulys Chacin of the San Diego Padres. He has a history of starting with both San Diego and the Colorado Rockies. He pitched 168 ⅓ innings in 2017 with an ERA of 4.12.
A slightly higher risk, but one more willing to pitch in the bullpen, is Francisco Liriano. He would be a one year solution as he ended the season pitching both as a starter and a reliever for the World Series Champion Houston Astros. Over the past two season he has an ERA of 5.09 and a WHIP of 1.54, making him affordable for the Reds.
A stretch idea that may bring some excitement to the fan base is Lance Lynn of the Saint Louis Cardinals. He missed all of 2016, but returned in 2017 to pitch 180 ⅔ innings with an ERA of 3.09. In order for the Reds to sign him, they would need to be aggressive and have other teams spend their money elsewhere.
The most likely outcome is re-signing Feldman or getting Liriano. Of course, the Reds could just stay with the youngsters. Hopefully, that doesn’t result in sixteen more starters in 2018.