What are the Cincinnati Reds thinking? That’s a popular question in the Queen City these days. More popular is, “Are the Reds thinking?” With Homer Bailey out for an indefinite amount of time — likely the season — the Reds need to look to the minors for one replacement in the rotation. Make that two because if Bryan Price continues to trot Alfredo Simon to the mound every fifth day, the Reds may as well wave a huge white flag.
Simon, love his heart, pitched his way onto the NL All-Star team after being thrown into the fire as the Reds’ emergency starter. The former bullpen star pitched for an injured Mat Latos and did so well he bumped an ineffective Tony Cingrani to the pen. If the Reds didn’t have the second best pitcher in National League in Johnny Cueto, Simon would have been the team ace.
Reds fans even gave him an endearing nickname, “Big Pasta.” Simon’s pre-break numbers were eye-popping with 18 starts, 12-3 record, 2.70 ERA, .219 BAA while walking only 28 batters in 116.2 innings of work. With a career high of 115.2 innings in seven previous MLB seasons only a fool — or Price and GM Walt Jocketty — could have expected him to keep his stamina through the dog days of August and September.
It is difficult to watch Big Pasta throw these days. In six post-break starts his numbers read like those of a 47-year-old future Hall of Famer who is getting that one final chance because he just can’t bring himself to hang up the cleats. The Reds have lost all six of the games Simon has started. His record is 0-5 with a gargantuan 5.46 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and .317 BAA.
Unless Reds’ brass has specifically told Price to keep running him to the mound to keep his offseason arbitration salary down, Simon should be moved back to his familiar role in the pen. That leaves Cincinnati needing two starters — one to replace the injured Bailey and another to keep Simon’s arm attached to his body.
Who should get the calls? Daniel Corcino and Michael Lorezen.
Corcino has pitched some great games recently and is already on the 40-man roster. Lorenzen will be on the 40-man next season. To free a spot for him just dump one of the bums taking up roster space. Lorenzen has pitched an outstanding 2014 campaign. His promotion would not just be one of a “job well done young man,” but it could also serve as a wake-up call to — who should be — the best pitcher in the Reds’ farm system, Robert Stephenson.
At this point, call anyone so long as they have a heartbeat and an arm.