Cincinnati Reds: Is Michael Lorenzen vying for a spot in the rotation?

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 15: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 15: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Michael Lorenzen draws the start today for the Reds.

Michael Lorenzen has been here before. The Cincinnati Reds right-hander will take the hill in today’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox. The Reds are clinging to a playoff spot, and a nice showing from Lorenzen could boost his chances of remaining in the starting rotation.

Make no mistake, Lorenzen will not supplant Sonny Gray who’s currently on the 10-day IL with an injured back. If Gray is healthy enough to return before the season ends, he’ll be back in his usual spot within the Reds starting rotation. But what about next season?

We saw Trevor Bauer have another impressive performance last night, albeit in a loss. Bauer surrendered two of the five home runs in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to the White Sox. Bauer, along with fellow right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, will enter free agency this offseason.

It’s hard to imagine the Reds ponying up the $35M-plus annually that it will take to keep Bauer, and DeSclafani’s performances and lack of consistency will likely result in him finding a new home this winter. That means Cincinnati’s starting rotation is likely to have two vacancies heading into 2021.

Gray, Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle are virtual locks to be part of next year’s rotation. Though Wade Miley is slated to return from the injured list very soon, it sounds as though David Bell will send Miley to the bullpen if the left-hander returns before the end of the season. Here’s what Bell had to say on the matter via

"“He’s a good pitcher. He’s one of our best. He’s left-handed, but it is a different time of year where we’re going with less starters. He has pitched out of the bullpen in the past, so we’ll just have to figure it out.”"

I’m not sure that’s the vote of confidence that Miley was looking for. He’s under contract for next season, but the southpaw has failed to impress this season and has been injured an awful lot in 2020. It’s hard to see the Reds relying heavily on Miley heading into 2021.

Durability is certainly something that Michael Lorenzen prides himself on. Mikey Biceps is, perhaps, the most physically gifted athlete on the entire Cincinnati Reds team, much less the pitching staff.

It’s hard to see Lorenzen as anything other than a reliever should the Reds make it to the postseason. In a three-game series, we’d likely see Gray, Bauer and Castillo. If Gray is still injured, then it’s likely that Tyler Mahle would get the ball instead.

However, entering next season, there’s a real chance that Lorenzen could earn a spot in the rotation. Tejay Antone will definitely have something to say about it, as the rookie has performed quite well this season. Young prospects Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene will also be looking to ascend to the big leagues as well.

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Michael Lorenzen is no stranger to starting. During his rookie season in 2015, Lorenzen started 21 of the 27 games he played with a 4-9 record and 5.40 ERA. It seems as though Bell has moved off the idea of Lorenzen as a two-way player, but that may open the door for him to become a starter again.