Marc Lancaster has an interesting article on the various battles to make the Reds final roster. He goes position by position, and draws some conclusions on who might win the open spots (of which there aren’t many).

For what it’s worth, here’s another piece in the Post projecting the Opening Day roster. And here is an Enquirer article by John Fay that says Aaron Harang appears to be a lock for the Opening Day rotation (I agree, by the way, and I’d like to see Brandon Claussen win the fifth spot).

Marc Lancaster is ordinarily an excellent writer, and he’s actually very open-minded for an MLB beat writer. However, though the above-linked article is good overall, take a look at this garbage:

Shortstop: To this point in the youth vs. experience debate, experience has come out on top in the person of Rich Aurilia.

It’s not that Felipe Lopez has fared poorly — he was hitting .346 entering Friday’s game and had committed just one error — but Aurilia seems to provide a calming presence on the diamond, fitting in well with the rest of the infield.

The veteran is hitting .333 and has been solid defensively, and though he obviously doesn’t have Lopez’s physical tools, he reported in excellent shape and hasn’t done anything to hurt his chances.

Both will make the team regardless of what happens, but Aurilia has the upper hand.

He “seems to provide a calming influence” and “fits in well” with the infield? What does that mean?

Okay, maybe it’s true (it can’t be proven, but it might be true), but how about some quotes from Miley or O’Brien saying that? Or what about some objective evidence to suggest that Aurilia has earned the job? All Marc provides is anecdotal…nothing. If those are the reasons why Aurilia is going to be the starter, we need to be worried about the direction of this franchise.

I’ve ranted about it before, so I won’t go into it again here, but there is no reason not to start Lopez this year and see if we might have a gem on our hands. By starting this old guy in a year that we don’t have a chance of winning a championship, we waste a year of Lopez’s development, and the team isn’t any closer to learning if he’ll be a legitimate Major League shortstop.