Cincinnati Reds: Tyler Mahle would be sixth starter if rosters are expanded

DENVER, CO - JULY 14: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 14: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

It’s likely that rosters will be expanded due to the season’s late start. If that happens, Tyler Mahle is a lock to be the Cincinnati Reds sixth starter.

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reported yesterday that Cincinnati Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams mentioned the possibility of expanded rosters in order to play as many games during the 2020 season as possible. If expanded rosters become a reality, Tyler Mahle will undoubtedly be the Reds sixth starting pitcher.

No one knows for sure when the 2020 season will begin. Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred came out earlier this week with news that April 9th will not be the start of the new season, as the start of the season was initially postponed by at least two weeks. Many expect the season to be on hold until mid-May at the earliest.

As part of Manfred’s statement, he said that every major league club remains committed to playing “as many games as possible”. If the season is pushed back until mid-May, the Reds would miss about 50 games. An early-June start would shrink the season to about 100 games.

If about one-third of the Major League Baseball season is wiped out, the possibility of doubleheaders certainly exists. While doubleheaders are rare in today’s game, it was the norm throughout baseball for many decades. The Chicago White Sox played a record 44 doubleheaders in 1943.

So, might we see an increase in doubleheaders this coming season? I would almost bet on it. While I wouldn’t expect to see more than two doubleheaders per week, that alone would be enough to warrant addition roster spots added to each major league ball club. Teams had already been granted an additional spot for the upcoming season, bringing  the total on a team’s active roster to 26.

Additional games would mean additional spots, especially in the pitching ranks. Expanded rosters would be great news for Tyler Mahle who appears to be on the outside looking in in terms of making the Reds roster for the 2020 season.

Cincinnati had a solid starting rotation entering 2019. Adding Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark boosted the team’s pitching profile. The addition of pitching coach Derek Johnson certainly helped as well. Luis Castillo put up All-Star caliber numbers and Anthony DeSclafani resurrected his career with an injury-free season.

Trevor Bauer joined the Reds at the trade deadline and Cincinnati dealt Roark to the Oakland Athletics. Over the offseason, the front office added left-hander Wade Miley to a two-year/$15M contract. That deal essentially put Mahle on the outside of the starting rotation.

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But, if rosters expanded it would be easy to surmise that Tyler Mahle would be added, especially if the league begins multiple doubleheaders as a way to increase the number of games played during the upcoming season.