Cincinnati Reds need to pull back on Brandon Finnegan

MILWAUKEE, WI - Brandon Finnegan (Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - Brandon Finnegan (Getty Images) /

With a lost 2017 and an injury this spring the Cincinnati Reds need to re-evaluate Brandon Finnegan.

In 2016 Brandon Finnegan was the only starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds that made a start every time his spot came up in the rotation.  Last season, Finnegan only made four starts. Now he is out with an injury as opening day approaches.  The hope was that he would lead the staff in 2018.

This spring Finnegan has only started three games.  Worse than that he has only pitched 5 ⅓ innings in those starts.  There is no way that Finnegan will be ready to start when the season begins, but Bryan Price still sees him as a starter for now.

Considering how much time Finnegan missed last season, he looked pretty strong in those three appearances.  He only allowed one run. It was from a solo home run.

He also walked and struck out a pair of batters.  That made a high WHIP of 1.71 despite a batting average against of just .222.

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Of course, this is just a small sample size.  It is just a sign that before suffering a strained forearm, Finnegan showed signs of being ready for a successful season.  There is no sign, however, of whether Finnegan is ready to produce as a starter with only an inning per spring start on average.

The Cincinnati Reds should consider pitching Brandon Finnegan out of the bullpen in 2018.

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It worked for Michael Lorenzen the past two seasons.  Lorenzen had injury issues in 2016. The Reds responded by putting Lorenzen in the bullpen the second half of that season and into 2017.

In that span Lorenzen appeared in 105 games, going 10-5.  He has 28 holds and 2 saves. Those are numbers that the Reds could use out of any reliever.

Finnegan made his MLB debut as a reliever with the Kansas City Royals.  In 2014 the Royals used Finnegan in seven regular season games down the stretch before adding him to their postseason roster.  He only had one regular season hold, but was used in high leverage situations in the playoffs.

In 2015 Finnegan started the season in the bullpen for the Royals.  After making fourteen appearances, the Royals sent him down to work as a starter.  The next time he pitched in the majors was for the Cincinnati Reds.

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Given how many options the Reds have for the starting rotation, it makes sense to focus on keeping everyone healthy.  In the bullpen Finnegan can be monitored more closely for health. Plus it gives the Reds another left-handed reliever.