With the likelihood that the Cincinnati Reds will be moving their golden-armed pitcher Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation, who is the odd man left out?
Now, any wise, sensible man or woman would clearly throw guys like Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey out of the mix for this mix. So that leaves two pitchers left in Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake.
It’s very hard to make the case for Arroyo to move out of the rotation given the fact he has pitched for the Reds for so many years, and has pitched very well in those years as a Red. With his backwards style of pitching of breaking balls first and fastballs later, it would be very hard for someone like an Arroyo to come out of the bullpen for one or two innings and not see him get absolutely lit up.
It also doesn’t help that Arroyo has been a starter for almost all of his career, and the adjustment to the bullpen would seemingly be too late in his career to make.
So that leaves Leake. Now, earlier in this month I talked about how Tony Cingrani should be given a chance to make a name for himself and try to take that last spot from Leake. But with the unlikelihood of that ever being a set-in-stone possibility, you have to imagine that Leake will be battling for his spot in the rotation this year.
If he were to lose his spot, it would be very hard pressed for the Reds to find him a spot in the bullpen, given the fact that the bullpen is stacked this year with young arms and crafty veterans. Some could argue that the long relief role for Leake would be a possibility, but that would leave Sam LeCure–someone who has really filled in nicely when the Reds needed him to–out of a job.
Again, this is all hypothetical. If Chapman were to succeed with his new role, you would have to think that someone like Leake would be battling for his spot, only to ultimately lose it. I just don’t see the Reds using a six-man rotation–that’s crazy talk.
By using the process of elimination, you can see that Leake really needs to show the Reds something special this spring training in order to keep playing at the MLB level.
Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter @bs_rant1