Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reds 25-man roster

According to two of my sources, here is the projected 25-man roster for the Reds as they break camp and head east:

CF Drew Stubbs
SS Orlando Cabrera
1B Joey Votto
2B Brandon Phillips
3B Scott Rolen
RF Jay Bruce
LF Jonny Gomes/Chris Dickerson
C Ramon Hernandez

C Ryan Hanigan
INF Paul Janish
INF Aaron Miles
OF Wladimir Balentien

RHP Aaron Harang
RHP Johnny Cueto
RHP Bronson Arroyo
RHP Homer Bailey
LHP Travis Wood

RHP Francisco Cordero (closer)
LHP Arthur Rhodes (set-up)
RHP Nick Masset (set-up)
LHP Daniel Ray Herrera (middle)
RHP Mike Lincoln (middle)
RHP Jared Burton (middle)
RHP Micah Owings (long)

Disabled List
RHP Edinson Volquez
LHP Bill Bray

I was listening to the Reds/Mariners game on Friday and Marty flat-out said (his favorite phrase) that the fifth starter job was down to Travis Wood and Mike Leake. I was surprised by this but that might only be because I hadn't seen any announcement. I assumed Justin Lehr, Matt Maloney, and Kip Wells were still in the hunt. Of course, this was before Wells gave up a grand slam to Jr. to lose the game in the ninth. On Friday, Leake started and went four innings, giving up only one run. Wood came in and immediately got into trouble with hits and walks, but worked out of trouble and also ended up with four innings and one run (which might have been unearned). According to both sources, Wood will be the starter. This makes sense. He had a great season last year and has more professional experience than Leake. Plus, he's left handed; something the Reds sorely need. With the edge in professional experience, he seems the most likely (of those two) to make a couple of decent starts while the Reds wait for Aroldis Chapman to heal.

I know most fans would rather see a promising rookie over a re-tread like Justin Lehr or Kip Wells, but if it were me, I would give the spot to one of those guys with the idea that it's Chapman's spot as soon as he's healthy. But that decision assumes the Reds are ready to move with Chapman when healthy. It would also let Leake and Wood pitch more at AAA and be ready for next year or to fill-in for injuries or trades of Harang and Arroyo.

The Chapman injury gives the Reds a chance to put him in the minors (when he's healthy) and let him get some professional starts and delay his arbitration clock. But the Reds clearly are trying to make a run at the division. Otherwise, they don't sign O-Cab, etc. So I expect to see Chapman at PGASP when he's able.

I don't have any issue with the proposed starting eight, but I do have an issue with the line-up. I like the righty/lefty balance, but I hate BP in the clean-up spot. I would have him lead off. I know lead off men are supposed to get on base and BP hasn't been the best on base guy. But in the clean up spot, he spends way too much time trying to hit home runs. Put in the lead off hole I think he would be a good on base guy and I think efforts to see more pitches and get on base will make him a better hitter. And the upside is you put Stubbs in the 8th hole which takes pressure off of him and gives you more speed at the end of the line-up and a good base stealer/runner in front of the pitcher. Ramon Hernandez is not a good eighth hitter. He's a run producer and should move up the line-up a bit. Here is my proposed line-up (with how they hit):

BP (R)
O-Cab (R)
Joey Votto (L)
Rolen (R)
Bruce (L)
Hernandez (R)
CD/Gomes (L)/(R)
Stubbs (R)

I would not make CD/Gomes a strict platton. I would play the guy that's playing well and, in fact, would have Balentien in that mix. The hot hand, regardless of handedness, would be playing.

No surprises in the bullpen. I would rather see Carlos Fisher than Mike Lincoln, but Lincoln's contract probably made the difference here.

Regarding the bench, I have a real problem with carrying Janish on the bench. The Reds' biggest offensive weakness will be left-handed power. They need some power from the left side off of the bench and right now, they have none. Even if CD doesn't start, he's not really a power guy. I think they have to keep Nix instead of Janish. Miles (if he's healthy) can fill-in at short, but O-Cab is a guy that plays all of the time. He doesn't need more than an emergency back up. Heck, BP could play short on an emergency basis. Put Janish in AAA and bring him up if O-Cab (or Rolen) goes on the D/L. Otherwise, they don't need him and can't afford his lack of stick on the bench.

The other option (besides Nix) is Drew Sutton. This guy, who bats left handed, can really hit and can hit with power. The only down side to keeping him is the Reds probably want him playing everyday and he can't do that in the bigs right now. But if the Reds are making a run, they need some more left handed pop on the bench.

If Miles isn't healthy, the Reds can carry Janish until he is, but I think he'll be fine by opening day and should be the utility guy. Again, the contract impacts the roster decision.

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