The Reds have recently found quite a bit of success in switching pitchers from the rotation to the bullpen, or the other way around. The promotion of Curtis Partch calls this to attention. As most of you know, Partch was a dreadful starter for most of four seasons until last year he was moved to the pen and almost immediately began to tear it up. (In fairness, he was a reliever in his first minor-league season before being placed in the rotation.) Interestingly, the man he replaces in Cincinnati (Logan Ondrusek) took a very similar track to the major leagues.
Sharky Rogers is an example of the opposite. He was pretty good in relief for Dayton, but by no means the best man in that bullpen. Thrust into the rotation last year for Bakersfield and Pensacola, he became a star. Similarly, Daniel Corcino relieved for two years before becoming one of the Reds' top-rated starting prospects. This year, Carlos Contreras is taking a similar route. Ryan Dennick pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen in the Kansas City organization, and this year has become one of the best starters in the Cincinnati system. Tony Cingrani was a college closer whom the Reds had the foresight to move to the rotation. They've taken the same approach with James Allen.
My point is . . . why not do this more routinely? Obviously, there are some prospects, like Robert Stephenson, whose time would probably be wasted in the bullpen. But are there any (or many, at least) relievers whose time would be wasted in the rotation?
I've thought for a couple years now that maybe Ondrusek should be given another chance to start. Drew Hayes has unexpectedly struggled this year. Why not give him a few starts and a little workload to try to get himself straightened out, and at the same time see how he adapts to that role? I understand that, due to repertoire or whatever, certain pitchers profile better as relievers. But that's an inexact science, as Cingrani might attest. Wouldn't you like to see what Chris Manno could do in a few starts? Alejandro Chacin? Brooks Pinckard? El'Hajj Muhammad? Sean Lucas? Corky Miller? (Couldn't resist.) At the very least, more innings might well make the guy a better reliever in the long run. It seems to have worked that way for Sam LeCure.