PDA

View Full Version : Reds focus on filling out rotation



Tom Servo
02-10-2007, 08:44 PM
http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/sports/colleges/mercer/16671427.htm


CINCINNATI - It's been a long time since the Cincinnati Reds headed into spring training feeling so good about their rotation.

Pitching has been their downfall for most of the decade, leaving them with six straight years of losing records. Things hit bottom in 2005, when the rotation finished last in the National League and the pitching staff was the league's worst overall.

As they prepare to open spring training in Sarasota, Fla., the Reds have committed more money to their rotation than at any time in their history. Right-handers Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo got contracts last week that will pay them at least $71 million over the next four years.

It's a good beginning.

"That's two-fifths of it," general manager Wayne Krivsky said. "At the same time, you're probably not going to get through the season with only five starters, either. That's pretty rare.

"So you need depth, you need other guys to step up when someone gets hurt. It's just myriad things that play into the equation. But having those two guys at the top is a nice start."

Most of the Reds' attention in spring training will focus on filling out the rest of that rotation, as well as figuring out who will finish games when the starters come through.

Harang and Arroyo gave the Reds one of top 1-2 starter combinations in the league last season. Harang led the NL in wins and strikeouts, while Arroyo led in innings. Together, they helped the Reds make a major improvement.

After finishing second-to-last in the league in 2004 and at the bottom a year later, the starting rotation improved to sixth overall in 2006. Most of the improvement could be attributed to Harang and Arroyo, who had all the club's nine complete games, the most in the NL.

The Reds are hoping that left-hander Eric Milton, who had his elbow cleaned out in September, can avoid injury in the final year of his three-year, $25.5 million contract. Milton will make $9 million this season.

"He had stretches last year where he pitched pretty well," Krivsky said. "I know he's determined to have a good year."

Right-hander Kyle Lohse went 3-5 in 11 starts and one relief appearance after the Reds got him from Minnesota last July. He'll make $4.2 million this season, with the opportunity to fit into the back end of the rotation. Right-hander Kirk Saarloos, obtained in a trade with Oakland last month, will get a chance to win one of the starting spots as well.

The most intriguing candidate is 20-year-old Homer Bailey, the seventh overall pick in the June 2004 draft. He dominated after a midseason promotion to Double-A last season, and is likely to begin at Triple-A this year.

If he's impressive in spring training and others struggle, the Reds might consider an even bigger promotion.

"We'll move him along a little bit this spring and see how it goes," Krivsky said. "We're going to do the right thing for his development. We're not holding him back, but at the same time he got only 70 innings under his belt at Double-A. We're going to be patient with him. He understands."

Bailey would like to stick around in camp and make it interesting.

"I want to make it tough on them," Bailey said. "That's all I can do."

After years of foundering, the rotation seems to be coming together.

"With me and Bronson in the top two spots, we just need guys to come in and work with us," Harang said. "It's going to be a huge opportunity for us to make a point that we're a top-notch rotation."

The bullpen is still a work in progress. Closer Eddie Guardado is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and isn't expected back until midseason at the earliest. Right-hander David Weathers (team-high 12 saves in 19 chances) and left-hander Mike Stanton could close games at the outset.

The everyday lineup is set, although there could be one intriguing twist in the outfield.

Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. broke his left (throwing) hand in an accident at home in December, but is expected to be fully recovered. Manager Jerry Narron has talked to him about playing some games in right field during spring training, giving faster Ryan Freel more time in center.

Griffey hasn't spoken to the media since his injury. He hasn't started a regular season game in right field since Aug. 4, 2004, two days after he had returned from a stay on the disabled list for a torn right hamstring.

While making a sliding play in that game, Griffey tore the hamstring from the bone. He hasn't started in right field since then.

"We've had conversations with Junior," Krivsky said. "Everybody understands each other and is open-minded about the situation. We'll let spring training play out and see what makes the team better."


Interesting to note that the article implies that Lohse isn't guaranteed a starting job, but nothing Wayne has said has suggested as much. And I also like to hear the continued rumblings of Junior moving out of center.

HumnHilghtFreel
02-10-2007, 08:57 PM
I think Lohse could end up pitching well in hopes of another pay-day along with Milton. And by pretty well, I of course mean good enough to get us by. And the lack of security in the #5 spot with all the competition should at least help to get some good production out of the back end.

flyer85
02-10-2007, 10:00 PM
:dunno:

fewfirstchoice
02-11-2007, 12:41 AM
it wouldnt suprise me to see mr. k bring in 1 more arm during the spring.

MartyFan
02-11-2007, 12:47 AM
I agree..I think before ST is over we'll see another arm in camp that can compete.

Spitball
02-11-2007, 10:45 AM
I agree..I think before ST is over we'll see another arm in camp that can compete.

I agree. Like last spring's acquisitions after teams were making cuts and fitting particular needs with given pieces, Krivsky was able to acquire Ross and Phillips. Perhaps this year he will find a Scott Baker or similar talent who is out of options and not in a team's imediate plans.

I(heart)Freel
02-11-2007, 11:35 AM
Provided Lohse and Saarloos dont stink up the joint, I foresee trading Milton away near midseason, to get a prospect or to fill a team need if we're in the hunt. The move will open up the spot for Homer. Will be a win-win-win for us.

kbrake
02-11-2007, 12:48 PM
Honestly I dont really see the rotation as that much of a concern. The offense has me worried much more.

Marge'sMullet
02-11-2007, 01:22 PM
Honestly I dont really see the rotation as that much of a concern. The offense has me worried much more.

The offense hasn't got as worried as the pen.

WVRedsFan
02-11-2007, 01:48 PM
Lohse is probably better than we can get on the market considering what we are willing to spend, so I think he's set. As for Sarloose (or however you spell that), I don't expect much. I imagine we'll see EZ take that spot with Homer finally coming up to complete the 5th starting spot.

TheWalls
02-11-2007, 04:14 PM
Saarlos strikes me as another Harang potentially, another strong arm stalled behind a tough A's staff.

Superdude
02-11-2007, 08:24 PM
What's the fascination with Saarloos around here? I really don't see anything in his numbers that suggest him being a serviceable starter. He doesn't have good control, rarely ever gets a K, and his HR rates jumped last year. Am I the only one that sees the Lizard as the obvious choice here?

RedEye
02-11-2007, 08:34 PM
I really don't think Saarloos is another Harang. He doesn't have the same stuff or the same make-up. Harang basically lived up to the top end of his upside, something that Beane and his brass clearly didn't think he'd ever do. I'm just not sure that Saarloos has the same potential--unless he finds those few extra MPH on his fastball that he used to have as a minor leaguer, when he was quite dominant.

Cedric
02-11-2007, 08:39 PM
What's the fascination with Saarloos around here? I really don't see anything in his numbers that suggest him being a serviceable starter. He doesn't have good control, rarely ever gets a K, and his HR rates jumped last year. Am I the only one that sees the Lizard as the obvious choice here?

Lizard has worse numbers. At every stop.

mth123
02-11-2007, 10:45 PM
What's the fascination with Saarloos around here? I really don't see anything in his numbers that suggest him being a serviceable starter. He doesn't have good control, rarely ever gets a K, and his HR rates jumped last year. Am I the only one that sees the Lizard as the obvious choice here?

I'm with you. I'd keep 'em both over Lohse.