Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell is in an unenviable position regarding his pitching staff. There are question marks at the back of the rotation and even more uncertainty in the bullpen. However, adding Luis Cessa to the rotation will only expose an already suspect relief corps.
Since arriving in Cincinnati at the trade deadline in July of 2021 following a deal with the New York Yankees, Cessa has made 70 appearances for the Redlegs including 60 in relief. Interestingly, his 10 starts to close out the 2022 campaign were the right-hander's first in a such a role in four years.
Unfortunately, Cessa's insertion into the starting rotation did not prove to be a revelation. The seven-year veteran was essentially the same pitcher he was coming out of the bullpen.
Reds starter Luis Cessa would have been better coming out of the bullpen.
When taking the mound coming in from the bullpen, Luis Cessa compiled a 4.91 ERA last season with opposing hitters recording a .254/.329/.428 slash line. As a starter, the 30-year-old from Mexico produced a 4.30 ERA while opponents slashed .247/.304/.446. Even though the numbers are slightly better as a starter, there's no evidence to indicate he's significantly more valuable in that role.
Obviously, the forearm injury to Luke Weaver in spring training has forced Bell's hand. Thankfully, all signs point to this being a temporary setback for the 29-year-old. Despite occupying a relief role last season, Weaver had spent the previous six seasons working almost exclusively as a starter.
But the best move would be adding Chase Anderson as the fifth starter to allow Cessa the opportunity to strengthen a shaky, at best, bullpen. In his final seven appearances, including six starts, to conclude the 2022 campaign, Anderson posted a respectable 4.15 ERA over 21.1 innings while fanning 21 and surrendering just 12 base hits. The nine-year veteran who was invited to camp on a minor league deal will begin the 2023 season in Louisville.
Granted, the injury to Luke Weaver and the multiple rough outings from rookie Brandon Williamson this spring have left David Bell with few good options. Nevertheless, the Cincinnati Reds skipper does have options, and utilizing Luis Cessa in the bullpen would be the best-case scenario for the Redlegs.