Cincinnati Reds: Projecting the 2022 starting rotation

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene (79) waits for a signal.
Los Angeles Angels At Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hunter Greene (79) waits for a signal. Los Angeles Angels At Cincinnati Reds /
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Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) follows through on a delivery.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) follows through on a delivery. Cincinnati Reds Spring Training 2 17 2020 /

4. Michael Lorenzen, Reds right-handed pitcher

Michael Lorenzen looks to have the inside track for the final spot in the Cincinnati Reds rotation heading into the 2021 season. After the departures of Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani, David Bell is looking for someone to join the group of Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Wade Miley. Lorenzen, as mentioned in the previous slide, in competition with three other pitchers.

One of the biggest advantages Lorenzen brings to the team if he’s in the starting rotation is his versatility on his days off. Over the last few years, Lorenzen has been primarily a reliever, meaning that the elite-level athleticism the California native possesses has to be managed carefully.

If Lorenzen is called upon to pitch in the seventh inning, Bell can’t turn to him in the ninth inning as a pinch runner. Bringing on Lorenzen as a pinch hitter or an extra outfielder late in games is no-go if Lorenzen saw time on the mound earlier in the contest. However, if Bell knows that every fifth day Lorenzen will be on the mound, he’s got many other ways to use the pitcher on his days off.

The question with Michael Lorenzen’s inclusion in the 2022 starting rotation will ultimately come down to whether or not the right-hander is in a Reds uniform next season. After going through arbitration-eligibility for the final time this winter, Mikey Biceps will be a free agent following the 2021 World Series.

That is unless the Cincinnati Reds front office decides to extend Lorenzen before the start of the 2021 season; something that is a real possibility. Lorenzen represents the lone free agent other than Miley and, potentially, Nick Castellanos. With what Lorenzen brings to the field and the clubhouse, in addition to being a fan-favorite, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him receive a contract extension.