The Reds are starting to provide answers to playing time and role questions. The most important of these was which pitchers would win the #4 and #5 spots in the rotation. Kevin Michell wrote an extensive breakdown of the competition between Tony Cingrani, Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias a few weeks ago.
Manager Bryan Price made news a few minutes ago when he told the press that Tony Cingrani will begin the season in the bullpen and the Reds will start stretching out Raisel Iglesias to start. This announcement accompanies Price’s switch of starters in today’s game (lineup) against the SF Giants (4:05 ET) from Cingrani to Iglesias.
Cingrani is going to the bullpen; #Reds will stretch out Iglesias to start. Probably biggest news of spring so far from camp.
— John Fay (@johnfayman) March 16, 2015
The two pitchers had put up similar game performances thus far in Goodyear. Each had thrown five innings. Cingrani had given up one earned run and Iglesias none. Cingrani had struck out three and walked two. Iglesias had struck out four and walked two. Iglesias gave up both walks during his nervous first appearance. He’s looked much better his second and third stints.
After the Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon trades, Price had said Cingrani and Desclafani had the inside track on the starting jobs. But prior to those trades, Price had offered these words of concern about Cingrani’s role:
“He certainly didn’t pitch the way he’s capable of pitching this year after his first start against St. Louis. That being said, we discovered the soreness in his shoulder and a weakness. I think we’re optimistic that he can recapture what we’ve seen in the past.Ã‚Â I think the more he starts, the more it becomes apparent that he definitely needs to improve the breaking ball and the change-up or he’ll be better served pitching out of the bullpen.”
The move gives the Reds another left-handed arm in the bullpen to accompany Manna Parra and, of course, Aroldis Chapman. John Fay had reported that Cingrani’s fastball velocity had increasedÃ‚Â to 94 mph.Ã‚Â So this doesn’t seem like a decision based on Cingrani’s health. The move may say as much about growing pessimism regarding the health of Sean Marshall’s left shoulder as it does anything else. Although if that’s the case, it would be strange to prioritize a few lefty-lefty bullpen match-ups over a starter that could throw 150+ innings. Especially since Cingrani wouldn’t be the only lefty in the pen.
Cingrani may not have convinced the coaching staff that he had developed a third (or second) pitch and that his portfolio was better suited for no more than one trip through the batting order. Remember that Cingrani had been a reliever in college.
Or the decision could have been based on a growing recognition that Raisel Iglesias has electric stuff and shouldn’t be wasted in the bullpen.Ã‚Â Iglesias joined the RedsÃ‚Â last summer after defecting from Cuba. Questions had swirled all spring about his roleÃ‚Â this year with the Reds.
This announcement also clears the way for veteran Jason Marquis or Paul Maholm to fill-in for Homer Bailey the first time or two through the rotation. Bailey threw 31 pitches against live hitters on Saturday morning with no pain or discomfort.