I don’t want to brag, but I’m really awesome. Also, I predicted that Matt Maloney would be the fifth starter for the Reds to open the season, and I was 100% correct.

Okay, it’s not really official (and it wasn’t really that difficult a prediction), but we can all read the tea leaves here, can’t we? Who else is going to get the fifth starter spot? Justin Lehr? He can’t get into a game. Do you really think Dusty Baker is going to pick him? Perhaps Aroldis Chapman? Despite all the hype, I just can’t see the Reds starting him in the big leagues. We may see him in Cincinnati by May, but I would be very surprised if Chapman made the Opening Day roster.

Travis Wood? Mike Leake? Nope; according to Dusty, those guys really aren’t in the running:

“I don’t know. This is Leake’s first spring training and Wood’s first major league spring training. Pitch first. Then we’ll see what’s happening. Let’s go pitch, son, that’s all. Don’t worry about making the team, don’t worry about not making the team, just pitch. That’s what they’re doing. If they’re not here when it breaks, they’ll be here soon. If they keep pitching like they’re pitching, they’ll be here sooner than most of us think – if there’s room or other people aren’t doing the job. … I can’t have them all, Chapman, Leake, Wood, Maloney and Lehr feels a little left out right now and I don’t blame him, but there’s some dude’s that’s dealin’.”

First of all, I love the way Dusty talks. He’s cool (did you know he played with Hank Aaron?). Secondly, the way I read that, Leake and Wood may be here soon, but not to start the season. For what it’s worth, I don’t necessarily disagree with that decision, if that is what the Reds do.

Maybe I’m reading too much into those comments. So it’s Maloney, right? Well, there is one other pitcher in contention.

Mike Lincoln. Ugh.

Lincoln will be making his third start of the camp today. By my calculation, that is more starts than anyone else on the staff. I just can’t see the Reds naming Lincoln the fifth starter, considering that he isn’t very good. They won’t do that, right?

Right?

UPDATE: Okay, I guess I forgot about Micah Owings. He’s kinda been the forgotten man all spring, and I get the impression that he isn’t being seriously considered for the rotation right now. Maybe I’m wrong. Or maybe Owings should just play left field.

26 Responses

  1. preach

    Starting Mike Lincoln? Heck, that would be like pinch hitting Juan Castro for Josh Hamilton. What organization would possibly do something like that?

    Mike Lincoln as a fifth starter would be equally impossible. Trust me.

  2. GRF

    Given all the candidates for the 5th starter spot, I really do not understand the number of innings going to Lincoln. Frankly, we could use him more in the pen. My intitial thought was it was just about getting him work to see if he was ready physically, now, I do not know what to think.

  3. RiverCity Redleg

    I don’t think Owings has been completely healthy, whick is why he has been a bit overlooked. Hopefully, he can get in and get some innings to get a fair look. Otherwise, I’ve got no problem startig out with Maloney. I’ve got a feeling we’ll end up using six different guys at the 5th spot before the year’s up.

  4. GRF

    Owings could be interesting as the long guy that pitches 2-3 innings when a starter gets rocked. It is not the end of the world if he has to bat once…

  5. BJ Ruble

    Maloney will be a stop gap until one of the bigger prospects are ready. It would not surprise me in the least bit if he wins the 5th spot, then is back in L’Ville by June with Chapman, Wood, or Leake taking his spot. I like Maloney, he just does not have the upside of those other three guys.

    The Lincoln thing really ticks me off. He is wasting valuable innings to guys like Lehr and Wood. I really can’t stand watching Lincoln pitch at all. You have heard of when a closer comes in it’s game over, well Lincoln is the opposite of that, it is game over, but for the other team.

  6. World

    By the way, I believe that Dusty Baker is already out of here at the end of the season if not sooner.

    BUT………if the Reds catch fire and somehow challenge the Cardinals and Cubs all season for the top spot, Johnnie B. could go to Big Bob without his cap in hand. And maybe Castellini would sign on the dotted line.

    Dusty has to be thinking about this 24/7 when the organizational minions talk about giving Chapman “a year to develop.”

    Maloney or Chapman? Lincoln or Chapman? Lehr or Chapman?

    Methinks Walt’s arm will be mighty sore at the close of camp.

  7. John

    I see Chapman making the team, and everyone else going to Louisville except Lincoln, who’s either out of here or going to the bullpen.

    The only reason Lincoln is getting a chance to start is to justify his inflated salary and/or show other teams that he can pitch. He’s Jocketty’s second worst signing after Taveras.

  8. al

    i agree that lincoln’s being shopped. it’s the only justification. another bad outing today though, so he’s probably ended that experiment. and i don’t see him even making the pen since owings can be a PH in addition to a long man. that’s too valuable.

    as for the 5th starter, i wouldn’t count out wood yet. i dont’ think that they are going to let leake skip the minors altogether (aside from afl), so he’ll go to aaa even if he continues to dominate.

    wood though, he hasn’t pitched a full season at aaa, but he’s pretty much shown what he needs to their, and he’s been in the system for a while now. i think they want a left in the rotation, and if it isn’t chapman, they’ll give wood every chance to beat maloney.

    right now i have them about even money, with maloney getting the nod for exp, and wood having better numbers.

  9. Python Curtus

    Jocketty is most likely trying to give Lincoln a fair shot before releasing him. He should never have signed Lincoln to a 2 year contract, not with his age and injury history. Similarly, Jocketty never should have sign Arthur Rhodes for 2 years—-again, because of his age and the fact that he rarely ever pitches a full inning. The Reds have too many good pitchers coming up.
    Because of this, I would not be surprised to see Chapman start the season in the bullpen, possibly with Maloney as the #5 starter for at least the first month or so. This would also limit Chapman’s workload, considering they say he’s been throwing all year.
    Looking to the future, Harang will likely be traded in July, Arroyo will go free agent, wich would be a stupid move on the Reds part, since he’s been the most reliable starter they’ve had the last few years. But with Wood and Leake only a year away, it might be for the best. I also think Volquez will become expendable. ’08 was his change-of-scenery year, ’09 his crash year. He’s likely to level off to where he was with the Rangers.
    And I’m still not convinced about how good Cueto actually is. He’s thrown a few good games, but more often than not he’s not a complete pitcher. Think Oliver Perez of the Mets. The Reds will have better options very soon

    • pinson343

      Arthur Rhodes rarely ever pitches a full inning… Because of this, I would not be surprised to see Chapman start the season in the bullpen…

      Arthur Rhodes pitched a full inning in 42 of his 66 games in 2009.

      Regardless, I would be VERY surprised to see Chapman start the season in the bullpen. Wherever he is, he’ll be starting on a regular basis.

  10. The Mad Hatter

    I foresee one helluva team in Louisville this year. Whether it’s AAAA talent or not, Louisville’s gonna have some talented ball players this year. One of the following won’t be there but the others will: Chapman, Maloney, Leake, Lehr, Wood, makes a pretty good start for a AAA rotation.

    1B: Alonso and Dorn
    2B: Frazier
    SS: Valaika, Cozart, Janish
    3B: Fransisco
    The castoffs from the OF should make it interesting as well when you consider that Stubbs is probably closer to L’Ville than to Cincy, especially after Dickerson’s game today. I might be in the minority here but I think Stubbs starting the season in Louisville isn’t that bad of thing for him or the big club.

  11. al

    @TC: i think the ratings are pretty good. i’d have it maloney, wood, chapman, leake, but pretty close.

    for chapman they may bend the rules and skip the minors altogether, because of his asses-in-seats appeal. leake, i just can’t see that for him.

    the minors aren’t just to get better control and learn how to field better. the minors help you build stamina and get used to pro ball. neither leake nor chapman can probably handle a full year in the rotation right now. unless the joba rules apply.

  12. earl

    I hope Maloney can get the job done as the Reds really could use a lefty starter, especially against the Cubs who are pretty much totally right handed and have hadd issues with lefty starters.

  13. earl

    Arthur Rhodes is pretty affordable for what he does and at least compared to Lincoln, the guy is fairly consistent with a solid track record. Rhodes is in shape and he looked like he hadn’t lost much at all for his age. I’m feeling Ok with him coming back, even as the Reds primary loogy. Arthur definitely is a lot less scary for the old guy in the pen than Stormy. Rhodes can still strike someone out.

  14. World

    Consider this.

    Big Bob wants to fill those seats which for the past several seasons have been copiously empty. And he’s got the last word.

    GABP would be overflowing with Chapman on the mound. And it’s not a David Clyde situation as the young man has a good bit of high level professional experience from his Cuban experiences.

    Bob loves his “lettuce.” He didn’t sign this young man to have him pitching in Kentucky. Even if he started there, he wouldn’t be there long. Imagine the fans in the Queen City hooting and hollering when some mediocrity like Owens is getting battered around the yard when Chapman is tossing zeros across the river. Sure it would be safer to let Chapman start at Lousiville and work with Ted Power but this is a one-time chance to make a statement, to put the Reds on every highlight reel right at the get-go, and to put some life in the oldest franchise in the major leagues. What a story! My buddy Gary Smith would be writing that up for Sports Illustrated within the month.

    Well, this is the way that I’d play it.

    • davidmp2

      Consider this.Big Bob wants to fill those seats which for the past several seasons have been copiously empty. And he’s got the last word. GABP would be overflowing with Chapman on the mound. And it’s not a David Clyde situation as the young man has a good bit of high level professional experience from his Cuban experiences.Bob loves his “lettuce.” He didn’t sign this young man to have him pitching in Kentucky. Even if he started there, he wouldn’t be there long. Imagine the fans in the Queen City hooting and hollering when some mediocrity like Owens is getting battered around the yard when Chapman is tossing zeros across the river. Sure it would be safer to let Chapman start at Lousiville and work with Ted Power but this is a one-time chance to make a statement, to put the Reds on every highlight reel right at the get-go, and to put some life in the oldest franchise in the major leagues. What a story! My buddy Gary Smith would be writing that up for Sports Illustrated within the month.Well, this is the way that I’d play it.

      Chapman would fill the seats in his first start. If he gets shelled, the seats go back to empty. One game’s take at the gates isn’t worth risking the $30 million investment the Reds have in Chapman.

      That said Leake and Chapman are in this rotation next year. I still believe Harang will be dealt this year. If Arroyo pitches like he can, I can see them exercising his option.

  15. Matt WI

    I understand the allure of bringing Chapman in now, and if he’s really good to go, then roll the dice. Otherwise, I’d hope the Reds didn’t sign him for just a good story. Play it right and the Reds are relevant for years, which is the story I’d like to read. I still side on bringing Chapman up with some restraint, let him adjust culturally and professionally. Maloney can have the fifth starter spot for a few months. Marty needs a new whipping boy this season anyway.

  16. WhackReds.com

    Can’t wait to see Wood, Leake, and Chapman. Maloney should get the No.5 spot due to experience.

  17. davidmp2

    If anyone has been overlooked its been Lecure. Of all the guys in the running for that fifth spot, (Leake, Chapman, Lecure, Wood, Maloney, Lincoln, and Lehr) Maloney and Lincoln look the worst.

  18. hoosierdad

    I’m still hoping Owings gets everything straightened out. Having his old AZ pitching coach to help won’t hurt. I just love having his bat in the lineup. But I’m OK with him being the long reliever, the only problem I see is you may not want to PH with him unless he pitched then night before. Otherwise you used up a pitcher and a pinch hitter with one AB.

    • davidmp2

      I’m still hoping Owings gets everything straightened out. Having his old AZ pitching coach to help won’t hurt. I just love having his bat in the lineup. But I’m OK with him being the long reliever, the only problem I see is you may not want to PH with him unless he pitched then night before. Otherwise you used up a pitcher and a pinch hitter with one AB.

      Owings is going to be used for long relief where he can get a good number of at bats. Plus, you don’t have to worry about wasting a PH early if the pitcher simply cannot make it through the first two innings. That’s the benefit.

  19. hoosierdad

    @davidmp2: I don’t know, maybe I just have a mancrush on Owings – or at least his bat!

  20. pinson343

    Chapman is making it a difficult management decision, which is what you want him to do. If they’re cautious with him, I’m not going to object too much, yet.

    Mike Lincoln is now in the bullpen, and hopefully soon off the team. Were they starting him to showcase him ? If so, not too bright.

    Did I read Rhodes and Lincoln mentioned in the same sentence ? How could that be ? Rhodes is a bona fide ML pitcher, and has been for a long time. He’s more than a LOOGY, he can pitch to righties too. And when was the last time we had a lefty reliever who could even get lefties out ? I can’t remember.

    I like Owings, as a long man or 5ht starter, if he’s healthy. But is he ? Will he ever be ?

  21. pinson343

    Rhodes’ 2009 splits:
    Lefties hit .141/.220/.153, righties hit .245/.313/.422.

  22. Greg Dafler

    Maloney only got 2 innings last night, and according to Mark Sheldon, is only scheduled for 2 innings in his next (relief) appearance.

    The scheduled starters for the next week, per Sheldon:

    Saturday, March 20 – Travis Wood starts and is scheduled for 4 innings. Mike Leake is scheduled to pitch 3 innings of relief.

    Sunday – A split squad start for Justin Lehr, scheduled for 3 innings. Johnny Cueto gets a 5-inning start in the other game versus the A’s.

    Monday – Bronson Arroyo gets a 5-inning start with Aroldis Chapman scheduled to go 4 in relief. Micah Owings is scheduled for a 4 inning start in a minor league game.

    Tuesday – OFF

    Wednesday – Homer Bailey is scheduled for a 5 inning start.

    Thursday – Harang gets a 6 inning start; Maloney is scheduled for 2 innings in relief

    Friday – Leake is scheduled for a 4 inning start. Wood is scheduled for 4 relief innings.