Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey are both not going to be ready to go when Opening Day begins. This is not ideal. Correspondingly, I have been tasked* with writing a worst-case scenario for the rotation. And that’s harder than you think.

* Editor’s note: who’s the dumb editor that assigned this topic to Jason? csd

There are a lot of moving parts in the rotation this year. Lots of prospects trying to gain a foothold. Lots of innings limits to worry about. Just lots and lots of lots. So many lots, that I was having a hard time figuring out how to define the worst case scenario. And then it came to me.

In the worst case scenario, Bronson Arroyo and Scott Feldman combine to make 65 starts.

In terms of play this year, there are certainly worse things that could happen. One can dream up all manner of nightmarish scenarios. But this is supposed to be the year things Get Sorted and we find out who’s Good Enough. Arroyo and Feldman are meant to be filler. They’re good guys who have had good careers, but at this point, they are innings-eaters who allow the sorting to happen, but who can also be put aside when the team is firing on all cylinders.

We already know, of course, that the Reds won’t open the season firing on all cylinders, but if Arroyo and Feldman spend the entire year in the rotation, it means things have gone horribly wrong. It means Disco and Bailey have been hurt all year. Or it means that something happened to Brandon Finnegan. Or it means that Amir Garret or Cody Reed or Robert Stephenson (or some combination of the three of them) really haven’t panned out. Or it means that several or even all of these things are true.

In short, the worst case scenario for the 2017 rotation is that the 2018 rotation is still a giant question mark at the end of the season.

23 Responses

  1. cfd3000

    Jason I think the worst case scenario, as you’ve hinted, is not what might happen in 2017, but where the Reds might be one year from now. If Disco and Bailey don’t return, or don’t return fully healthy, or perhaps worst of all are healthy but never effective again, that’s two more spots to fill permanently. If Reed, Garrett and Stephenson struggle and never find their MLB mojo, or they get hurt, that leaves Finnegan alone on the Cincinnati mound as the future of Reds starting pitching. And at that point we’ll be asking the same questions about Romano and Davis and Mella and more that we’re asking now about Reed and Garret and Stephenson. And we’ll be wondering the same things we’re wondering now about the durability of Iglesias and Lorenzen, all over again. And all of that sounds awful to me. It’s got to be better than that, right? I’m choosing to be optimistic. I’m ready for Opening Day.

  2. Jim Walker

    I agree that the worst case scenario would be still looking at a substantially unresolved starting rotation heading into 2018. The even worse news if Feldman and Arroyo end up with 65 starts is that Romano and Davis will have also failed to answer the call by the end of 2017. The very belief that the depth and quality of the Reds pitching is the foundation for this rebuild “life cycle” would be open to question.

    • Reaganspad

      I miss OhioJim

      Romano of all the youngins looks like the real deal to me. I think by the end of the year we are talking about Romano and who slots in the rotation behind him (for our playoff rotation of course) even if Disco is healthy.

  3. Redgoggles

    “Reds sign former All Star Alfredo Simon to anchor rotation”……would be up there.

  4. Sliotar

    A good case could be made to go and sign Doug Fister, still a free agent, and give him Arroyo’s innings. Then, try and flip Fister, like Straily was. Arroyo has no choice but to go along with the decision, other than retire. He isn’t getting a role anywhere else.

    The Colorado Rockies are a good example as to the hazards of declaring a firm start time to being the Next Good Team. They have a better offense than the Reds, further blooded young starting pitching and made key free agents signings (Desmond, Holland) to get them into the playoff hunt.

    Several key injuries and illness (Bettis’s cancer) in Spring Training, and their 2017 plans are in jeopardy before a regular-season game has been played.

  5. ScottyA

    It also would mean that Rookie Davis and Sal Romano didn’t surprise and make it into the starting rotation at some point this season (not the most likely scenario, but would be very good news). The best case might look something like this: Rotation is Desclafani, Bailey, Finnegan, Reed & Garrett from July on. Then Romano and Davis become top 100 prospects.

    And the dow jones goes up to 22000 :).

    • sixpacktwo

      Desclafani goes to 60 day DL, which opens a spot for a released pitcher at end of Spring training.

  6. IndyRedMan

    How hard would it be to get Keyvius Sampson back? He had 42K in 39 IP for the Reds last year and always had good stuff! He’s still only 26! He could be the 5th man in a pinch and work up to 5 innings. I would be concerned about letting any of the youngsters take a beating like Reed did last year.

    • Jason Linden

      I thought it was strange that they let him go like they did. He had legitimate upside. Ted Power spoke highly of him.

      • Jim Walker

        Especially given that they kept Jumbo and a couple of other guys. I’ve wondered if this was a situation where there was more going on than reached the public’s eyes and ears.

  7. Soapboxes

    Whatever the worst case scenario is it cannot possibly be worse than this…..

    Brandon Claussen, Luke Hudson, Eric Milton, Ramon Ortiz, Elizardo Ramirez, Paul Wilson

    That was 2005 FYI

  8. Soapboxes

    I did leave out Aaron Harang by accident. He was the only upside to that rotation. At least with our young guys a number of them have good scouting reports and some rank high as prospects. The early 200’s uhhhhhh the dark ages it was.

  9. sezwhom

    I hear Jimmy Haynes is available. Maybe he can rekindle some of that magic from 2002.

  10. Ed Koverman

    Yeah I want to see the youngsters

  11. David

    I have my doubts about Amir Garrett and Sal Romano being on the Opening Day roster because of the whole issue of major league time. Having said that, they do BELONG on the Opening Day roster and in the rotation if it was truly about taking the best players out of Arizona.
    As it is, the likely Opening Day rotation will likely be Finnegan (and that’s OK), Scott Feldman (meh), Cody Reed (we’ll give him time), Robert Stephenson (same thing) and Tim Adelman (who is not that good). I don’t think Bronson is strong enough to go five innnings, and may end up as the “long man” in the pen.
    By May, the weakest link(s) gets pushed off the roster for either Garrett and/or Romano, if they continue what they are doing now into the AAA season.

    I think Bailey will be back sometime, maybe in June. I have my doubts about Desclafani being back this year as a starter.

  12. David

    Garrett is a top drawer talent, and SHOULD be on the Opening Day roster, but will go to AAA for three weeks because of service time issues. It’s not right in terms of doing the right thing by Garrett and the fans (short term), but buys another year of control for the Reds.
    Somebody made a very good argument the other day about Garrett’s age when he will actually reach free agency, and if he hasn’t proved himself by then, who cares?

    I think Adelmann and Feldman are both…meh. Not quite as bad as Jason Marquis, but about one step above.

    I would like to see Finnegan, Garrett, Reed, Stephenson and Romano as the starting rotation, with Feldman as the long man/swing man in the pen. Sure that’s young, and three lefty’s in the rotation, but let’s get on with it.

    I don’t expect Bailey back until June (and then maybe in the Bull Pen), and really don’t expect much out of Disco at all this year. Just bad luck again for him.

    • Streamer88

      It isn’t iron clad but most young starters who go on to be good have considerable struggle in their first 150-250 innings in the bigs. A Doc Gooden or Kerry Wood situation is the exception. So Reed (already started taking his licks), Stephenson, Garrett, Romano etc all will be average to bad before they’ll be good. I say throw them all in the fire now. Otherwise we’re looking at 2019 before a serious threat to win 90 games.