Vladimir Gutierrez is being moved to the bullpen. That was the word out of Pittsburgh this afternoon, with manager David Bell telling Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer that Gutierrez is heading to the bullpen and that Connor Overton would be remaining in the rotation.
Cincinnati has off days on May 16th and May 19th. That sets things up so that they can stick with the four starting pitchers of Luis Castillo, Hunter Greene, Connor Overton, and Tyler Mahle until May 24th against the Chicago Cubs.
The Reds may have options for that date. Mike Minor is scheduled to make his second rehab start with Louisville on Sunday. Cincinnati could bring him back into the big leagues after that if they would like, though he’s scheduled for just 60-65 pitches on Sunday. Perhaps he will get a third rehab start, but that wouldn’t make him available in the big leagues until the 25th.
Another potential option could be Nick Lodolo. He, too, is on the injured list. He last pitched on April 24th before his back began to act up. If his back is doing better, he could slot back into the rotation and there’s even enough time for him to make a rehab start in between now and then if the team feels that it’s necessary.
As for Vladimir Gutiererz moving to the bullpen, it’s both a bit of a surprise and not one at all. Gutierrez is just in his second season in the big leagues and last year he was solid, posting a 100 ERA+ (4.74 ERA) in 114.0 innings over 22 starts. This season, however, his ERA is almost double that through six starts. His ERA of 8.65 is just a 53 ERA+. His walk rate has also nearly doubled, and his low strikeout rate hasn’t improved, while his high-ish home run rate from 2021 has also gotten worse.
Not that he’s been all that good the first time through the lineup this season, but in 54 plate appearances he’s given up just one home run. Hitters still have an OPS against him of .930 the first time they face him in a game, but he’s kept the ball in the yard. In the second time through the order batters have five home runs against him in 54 plate appearances and have an OPS of 1.185 against him. Perhaps the bullpen will allow the home run rate to stay down, but let his stuff play up a little bit in shorter outings and he can see some kind of turn around.