Cincinnati Reds news: Michael Lorenzen’s role, starting rotation set, more

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on September 10, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on September 10, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds began Spring Training in Goodyear, Arizona yesterday. Pitchers and catchers reported to the Reds’ facility and David Bell spoke to the media.

Baseball is back Reds fans! The Cincinnati Reds converged on Goodyear, Arizona as Spring Training began yesterday with pitchers and catchers reporting to the Reds facility. Pitchers and catchers weren’t the only ones who showed up, however, as Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp were spotted at the facility as well. David Bell spoke to the media and had some interesting observations about his club so far.

What is Michael Lorenzen’s role? Throughout the offseason, suspicion has arose as to who will play center field for the Cincinnati Reds with Billy Hamilton now in Kansas City. David Bell confirmed yesterday that it won’t be Michael Lorenzen, at least not right now.

Lorenzen is a baseball player. He just wants to help his team win however he can, even if that includes playing in the outfield. Lorenzen played center field before he began his professional career, and with a slash line of .290/.333/.710 in 34 plate appearances last season, you could see why the Reds may want to take a look at what Lorenzen looks like in the field. However, David Bell, via, wants him to focus on pitching first.

"“We’re going to have time as Spring Training goes that I would anticipate he will get some time in the outfield. But with the importance that he brings to us as a pitcher, we need him to focus and really build himself up in that area first. I would say during the second half of Spring Training, there would be opportunities for him to get in the outfield and get some at-bats.”"

It’s obvious that Bell sees the value in a player like Lorenzen who can play multiple positions and make good contact at the plate. Lorenzen, after all, had 4 homers last season including a grand slam. But, for now, look for Lorenzen to get the majority of his reps on the mound rather than in the batter’s box.

Is the Reds rotation already set?  All offseason, we’ve speculated as to what the Cincinnati Reds rotation might look like in 2019. With the additions of Tanner Roark, Alex Wood, and Sonny Gray, most fans assumed that those three would be penciled in as three of the five starters next season.  It was thought that Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani would be the leaders to grab the remaining spots, and per’s Mark Sheldon, that was all but confirmed yesterday.

It was then mentioned that Michael Lorenzen, Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle, Cody Reed, and Brandon Finnegan could then fit in other roles, such as a spot starter, long reliever, or some sort of swing role. This shouldn’t come as any surprise, and out of all those names mentioned, Mahle’s is the most likely to possibly change Bell’s mind by the end of Spring Training.

Interesting to note that Robert Stephenson‘s name is conspicuously absent from the group mentioned to have a non-starting role on the team. Stephenson is out of options, meaning if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training, he’ll be put on waivers. There’s a good chance that he could be picked up by another team if he’s cut by the Reds.

Stephenson has not had a stellar career since being taken in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds. The right-hander has the look of a starting major league pitcher, but he’s never been able to put it together. Stephenson went 0-2 last season in 4 games, including 3 starts. He had a 9.26 ERA and more walks (12) than strikeouts (11).

Jose Lopez claimed by the Giants. Right-hander Jose Lopez, the Reds No. 25 prospect who was designated for assignment earlier this week after the team signed Zach Duke, was claimed by the San Francisco Giants. Lopez was on Cincinnati’s 40-man roster, but the team made there choice to remove him from it in order to sign Duke.

Lopez had been with the Reds organization since 2015. He’d steadily worked his way up through the minor leagues, starting 26 games at Triple-A Louisville last season. He went 5-13 with a 4.47 ERA. Lopez was not a serious contender for a spot on the 25-man roster, and was likely to have found a spot elsewhere this spring.

Rob Manfred chosen as the Findlay Parade’s grand marshall. Major League Baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, will serve as the grand marshall for the 100th Findlay Market Parade when the Cincinnati Reds open the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 28th. Manfred is entering his fifth season as commissioner.

Next. Predicting the Reds roster before Spring Training

The Reds are celebrating the 150th anniversary of professional sports’ first franchise and Major League Baseball is following suit. Each major league team will be wearing a patch to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, Major League Baseball’s first professional franchise.