Big news out of Reds camp today, as the club made a number of cuts:

Not a lot surprising there, but it is certainly interesting. First, Ben Revere has been reassigned, and he’ll have to decide whether to accept the demotion or not. I’d be shocked if he reported to the minor league camp, but we’ll know soon.

In addition, LOOGY Oliver Pérez was released. Again, it isn’t particularly surprising, but I thought the veteran lefty had a chance to make the bullpen. He may or may not latch on with another team.

Perhaps the biggest — though not unexpected — news is that Robert Stephenson didn’t make the big league rotation. Unlike last season, the Reds aren’t going to fool around with putting him in the Cincinnati bullpen to begin the campaign. It is expected that Stephenson will go down and anchor the rotation at Triple-A Louisville, and presumably Jackson Stephens will also be in that group.

So…the Cincinnati starting staff is beginning to take shape:

At this point, it really appears that the Opening Day rotation will be Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sal Romano. Once the Reds need a fifth starter, it will be Amir Garrett or Brandon Finnegan, presuming Finnegan is every healthy again in his entire life. (He’s having some Mesoraco-level bad luck.)

I’m pretty nervous about the Reds starting corps, since the Reds don’t have a single pitcher who has both (a) demonstrated an ability to stay healthy, and (b) pitched a full big league season. That’s a lot of uncertainty, and I could see that turning into just as big a mess as last year.

But there is reason for optimism. Castillo, Mahle, Romano, Garrett, and Finnegan are all young and talented. It’s going to be fun to watch them get better and better at the big league level (fingers crossed and hoping for the best). More than anything, I’m happy to see Mahle win a spot. All that guy does is get hitters out. And if Garrett can pitch like he has in spring training, he’ll be in the full-time rotation sooner rather than later.

Finally, we have a full-on Rebuild Rotation. Let’s see what we’ve got, shall we?

Oh yeah, and here’s one more reminder:

33 Responses

  1. TomatoTovotto

    Big sighs of relief all around that we don’t have worry about Revere leading off games. Just read through the Williams Reddit feed–the FO seems to have a pretty clear view that Winker is ready and that Hamilton’s position is increasingly precarious. Let’s just hope BP sees things similarly.

    • GreatRedLegsFan

      Real bold moves I’d like to see are a) handing full time OF duties to Duvall, Schebler & Winker and b) shuffling the IF to insert Blandino in everyday line-up.

  2. Chad Dotson

    If Jocketty were still in charge, would Revere and Perez still be in big league camp?

  3. Joey Barrett

    Is it me or does Mahle look like he got jacked? Guy looks like he’s been working out with Lorenzen. I don’t remember him being built like that last year. Then again he did only make 4 starts for the Reds last year 🙂

  4. bouwills

    All the talk is about Stephenson & Revere being sent down but what about Mason Williams? Will he go to Louisville? I thought he looked like a decent cf- maybe as good as Ervin.

      • Matthew Habel

        Agreed, that is why I was surprised they cut Kivlehan early on. They must really not have liked how he looked. .596 OPS against well below AAA talent this spring.

        That leaves Dixon looking like an option but even though he plays multiple positions I think he is bad at them all. Not sure if his offense can make the lines cross or not.

  5. DRE

    Reds sign outfielder ben revere and lefty loogy reliever oliver perez….lol, why waste money???

  6. JR

    Just be grateful Revere and Perez are gone. Give our young kids a chance and let’s get on with this!

  7. Eddiek957

    Garrett should be in the rotation

  8. Greg

    I agree with ETR.
    My preference is to start with Garrett in the 4 spot, Finnegan in 5 (if ready) then pivot to Mahle if needed.
    I wouldn’t go too far out of the way to save Mahle’s clock, but I believe that Garrett is just as deserving of the spot as he has been as impressive as Mahle this spring and the service time advantages break the tie. I am becoming more and more convinced that Garrett’s hip injury was the main source of his struggles as evidenced by the added velocity. I think he has legit #2 upside.
    This staff could really be something in 2019.

  9. Chad Dotson

    My suspicion is that Finnegan won’t be ready to make a start when the Reds need a fifth starter, and Garrett will get that job. If he performs, he can hang onto it.

    In other words, I don’t think we can say he’s been “relegated to the bullpen,” at least not just yet.

  10. Indy Red Man

    Suarez and Duvall are 4-4 combined with a double/HR against lefty Mike Minor tonite. They have the personnel to do alot more damage vs lefties this year! Price could run something like this out there vs lefties:

    Winker/Blandino/Peraza leading off

    Could throw Dixon in the mix too at 2b if they wanted? We already know they can throw lefty hitters out there in droves vs righties. This could possibly be a pretty competitive year (or maybe spring/summer atleast) if Price can finally get the best out of his personnel!

    • Dave Roemerman

      Two thoughts – I get excited four that/those lineups and I’d love to see someone off themselves with a clipboard, lol.

  11. scotly50

    I agree with poster who said it is not a given Mahle is in the four man rotation just yet. He may be the fifth with Garrett being the fourth, who knows. Just don’t see Reed in the equation as a starter at all.

  12. cfd3000

    I’m with the Cossack. I don’t see that this locks Mahle into the rotation, and I suspect it will be Garrett taking the 4th slot (with Bailey, Castillo and Romano). Finnegan may get the occasional 5th start, but I think Reed is actually more likely. I suspect we’ll see Mahle only after the service clock is resolved unless someone else is hurt. And to be honest I think that’s a good scenario. Now I’m hoping we see Blandino and Dixon instead of Pennington and Gosselin. With Ervin as the 5th outfielder that leaves just a couple of bullpen slots to lock down. The other big mystery will be how much playing time Winker gets. I’m hoping Duvall is given regular rest and Hamilton only starts occasionally, with Winker and Schebler playing pretty much every day. I can dream, right? Oh, and ONE WEEK to go. I can’t wait!

    • cfd3000

      I noticed that too. 4 errors in limited innings does not bode well. Let’s hope Pennington at least is not destined for Cincinnati.

  13. Dave Roemerman

    I’m guessing they do him like Garrett last year, as soon as everyone is healthy or someone in AAA throws strikes (I’m looking at you BobSteve). He’ll be down for the clock at some point. That said, good to see him up now, though I think Garrett has been our best guy so far.

  14. Dave Roemerman

    Crossed fingers knocking on wood. I don’t see any of these guys needing AAA time to become MLB starters/stars, a la Senzel, even if it slightly ups their ceilings. Let em play now!

  15. Gaffer

    Finnegan has never been able to go 6 innings, that would be 120 plus pitches for him.

  16. Matthew Habel

    I could care less instead of I couldn’t care less

  17. JB WV

    So glad they let Perez go, he’s shot. Mahle has to be in the rotation. He’s shown nothing but consistent outings since last year. I understand service time considerations, but looking 6 years ahead for an additional year seems silly at this point. Let’s win some ballgames.

    • Ernest Howerton

      I agree,time to win.Once a proud winning franchise ,let’s put a winner on the field.

    • Ernest Howerton

      Or giving up homeruns with two strikes on them

  18. jay johnson

    as usual i agree whole heartedly with your post.I have not read anything to contradict what you have said.As of now there are still decisions to be made about the rotation.
    The 4th/5th starters are clearly still up in the air.Mahle/garrett/finnegans status are all still to be determined.Time will tell but I feel Mahle will start in the minors with the April 9 game to be determined by Finnegans health.If healthy the Reds would be more than happy to have him throw 5 innings and let the pen finish the game,possibly Reed with multiple innings.
    Has anyone seen any Reds official announcement to the contrary?

  19. Bill

    Matt Wi, I agree, they talk about all the good players they have coming up, then why not let the young ones they have now play don’t worry about arbitration.

    • Jeff Reed

      I like these comments about winning ball games. It’s time to let the young guys play ball and see who are the keepers the same way the Astros did it.

  20. Michael W.

    If all we have to do is keep Mahle in AAA for 6 weeks while Garrett pitches in his place, then there should be no discussion about it. Send him down. Another year of team control for a team who is still in a “rebuild” mode now, would be fantastic. It is true that we don’t know what he will be for that extra year, but I would be willing to take that chance to find out. No reason to waste a year of his team control for 6 weeks, so we can have a slightly better chance of winning the 7 starts he would make in that time.

    • JB WV

      If we had access to the crystal ball that shows the roster 6 years from now I’m sure there would be plenty of surprises. It would be an interesting(and exhausting) exercise to go back 6 years on each ML team and see what percentage of prospects at that time were held back for service-time reasons and where they are now, especially pitchers. Given the flame-outs and injuries that occur every year to every team I’d be willing to bet there would be names that we have to scratch our heads to remember. OK, those 6 weeks don’t seem like much in the broader scope of things, but what if Mahle becomes bored/embittered over his wasted time at AAA? Comes back to the show and gets lit up his first few starts because he’s not used to ML hitters again? Did Garrett’s meltdown coincide with his demotion last year? Let’s not mess around. Let him pitch. Let’s see if we can start winning now. Who knows?

    • BigRedMike

      Not sure that a team needs to worry about team control for a pitcher as much as a hitter. There is a decent chance that a pitcher will get injured. If Mahle is good enough and healthy, the Reds will need to do something with his contract anyway.
      Just play the best young players this season and let it sort out, 5 years or more is a long way out at this point.

  21. citizen54

    “Begs the question” is my pet peeve.