For the second year in a row all of the veterans claim to be healthy heading into spring training for the Cincinnati Reds.
Last season the Cincinnati Reds claimed all of their starting pitchers were healthy headed into spring training. Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani were not healthy. Neither was Nick Travieso, who many thought had the inside track on the fifth spot in the rotation.
The credibility here is lacking. DeSclafani, who expects to make 30 starts, and Brandon Finnegan both supposedly are having normal off-seasons. For the Reds that may just mean rehabbing from an injury. Then again, they may be looking to Finnegan for flexibility.
Rookie Davis won’t be ready for the start of the season. That is likely best. There should be no temptation to start him in Cincinnati in 2018.
Amir Garrett also had health issues last season, after a hot start for the first two months of the season. Once he injured his hip, he never looked right again. He faces an uphill battle to make the rotation to start the season.
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Although not a starter in the Reds’ eyes, Austin Brice also ended the season injured. He strained his lat in August and never returned last year. The Miami Marlins viewed him as a starting prospect before transitioning him to a bullpen slot.
The Cincinnati Reds will have a very different rotation if the veterans can’t answer the call to start the season.
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As it stands now, last year’s breakout star Luis Castillo may very well start opening day. Bailey is penciled into the back end of the rotation. The middle of the rotation will be DeSclafani and Finnegan, if they can go.
If DeSclafani and Finnegan can’t go, then the youngsters all have a chance at a spot in the rotation. Assuming everyone is healthy, the number five starter appears to be either Michael Lorenzen or Robert Stephenson. If the veterans aren’t ready, both Lorenzen and Stephenson make the rotation.
That means that there will be a true open competition for the number five spot in the rotation. That would include Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle, and Garrett among potentially five or six other players. That the Reds recently signed Vance Worley to a minor league contract should send the radar into overdrive.
Of course, the Reds could be telling the truth, and DeSclafani and Finnegan could be on pace to be ready for the start of spring training. That would make the Reds’ pitching staff look much better than the last two years. Health alone would make it look much better after the last two seasons.