With injuries and talent tamping down results in the starting rotation, the Cincinnati Reds have easy decisions to make.
The Cincinnati Reds looked to play 2017 with a mostly veteran rotation. Late in the off-season the Reds still listed five veterans as their projected rotation. By the time the season started two rookies, Amir Garrett, and Rookie Davis, were in the starting rotation and both spent time on the DL.
Neither of them sustained excellence throughout the season. Their struggles, combined with the injury to Brandon Finnegan, opened up opportunities for other prospects. One such was potential opening game starter, Luis Castillo.
The primary competition for that honor is the veteran Homer Bailey. Bailey made nineteen starts last year, but couldn’t answer the bell to start the year. As long as he is healthy and close to competitive, the Reds will keep Bailey in the rotation.
The other veteran in the same boat is Anthony DeSclafani. He missed the entire 2017 season due to injury. If he is healthy enough to start, then he will have a place in the rotation.
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Those are three spots in the rotation. With 60% of the rotation filled there are a few decisions yet to make. They depend on how soon the Reds plan on contending.
The biggest decision facing the Cincinnati Reds is whether or not to bring in more talent.
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In case DeSclafani isn’t healthy or the prospects aren’t ready, the Reds should add a starting pitcher via free agency or trade. They need someone like Scott Feldman who started on Opening Day for them last year. Just someone who can pitch every fifth day.
If they add a pitcher like that it makes the decision of what to do with Robert Stephenson, who recently got married, much less stressful. Stephenson will be fighting fellow prospects Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano for a spot in the rotation Finnegan and reliever Michael Lorenzen also want to start.
That’s how the decisions become simple. If everyone is healthy, Finnegan and Lorenzen are too good in the bullpen to start. There are too many decent options.
Adding a veteran option allows the Reds a better buffer against one of that duo starting. Finnegan has shown the ability to last a full year as a starter. That makes him the default fifth starter if depth or injuries push a reliever into the rotation.
So the decisions come down to one. Do the Reds want to add a veteran so that Finnegan and Lorenzen can become part of the best bullpen in the National League Central? After the past few seasons, all Reds’ fans are screaming, YES!