I was playing a baseball simulation game a few years ago (can’t remember which one, I play Baseball Mogul and Out of the Park Baseball both a lot, sometimes Puresim Baseball), but I decided to replay the 1975 Reds.

The problem was, the Reds’ roster didn’t fit the “model” given the game (the games have since given roster flexibility). The game I was playing was insisting that I have 11 pitchers on my roster. And I couldn’t find a spot for Ed Armbrister, one of my primary right handed pinch hitters (he appeared in 59 games that year).

The problem? The Reds only used 12 pitchers the entire year, with Tom Hall (included in the 12) pitching only two innings before being shipped to the New York Mets for never-to-pitch for the Reds Mac Scarce (bad luck for Hall).

Sparky Anderson had more offensive/defensive flexibility using more position players than pitchers. Sparky used six starters regularly. Gary Nolan and Jack Billingham each started 32 games, Fred Norman 26, Don Gullett 22, Pat Darcy 22, and Clay Kirby 19. Tom Carroll started 7 and Clay Carroll started 2. Nolan, Billingham, and Gullett only started; others started and relieved; some just relieved.

Now, read that again…Sparky actually used only 10 pitchers on the roster. Tom Carroll was on the roster while Gullett was out.

Yet, this spring we’re carrying 12 pitchers. Micah Owings, starting today, hasn’t appeared in a game (as a pitcher) since March 26. Nick Masset has pitched 1 game in relief; the other relievers have made at least 3 appearances. (oh..yeah, Owings can pinch hit….why not pitch, after pinch hitting?)

Daniel Ray Herrera and Bill Bray are both guys whose record, pitching repertoire, and stuff says they can get both righties and lefties out.

Some say Homer Bailey should be in the minors because he needs regular work (I think my Earl Weaver pitching history proves that’s a manager’s choice….).

Our hitting is what’s hurting…maybe we should buck popular trend and try to maximize our strengths, and minimize our weaknesses. I don’t mean carry three catchers…maybe we should have kept a Jonny Gomes to help with our offensive weaknesses. Maybe we didn’t need to over spend on relievers who are one-dimensional. Maybe for weaker fielding hitters, we carry the extra defensive help.

For small to mid-market teams, we have to be creative to win. The every-day argument of Adam Dunn’s value came up the other day…Dunn’s weaknesses could have been minimized using intelligent roster management.

I think asking for Owings to be sharp today is a lot to ask of a guy who hasn’t played his primary position in three weeks…