GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Well, we know who the candidates are. The competition for the Reds’ rotation is nearly as crowded as the Republican presidential field was pre-Iowa and New Hampshire.
Reds manager Bryan Price said the following pitchers will prepare as starters:
Homer Bailey, of course, will get a spot when he’s ready to go — probably around May 1. John Lamb is in the race as well, but he’s behind after back surgery.
“In some ways it's hard to say because you know you only have five starting spots and we have two split squads that are like 15 days apart or something like that, we don't have any B games scheduled yet,” Price said. “Obviously there will only be five guys that are starting every fifth day, but quite often it'll be the second guy in the game, it'll be a guy we're also trying to stretch out.
DeSclafani and Iglesias are locks to make it. Lorenzen and Moscot are probably next on the depth chart. Stephenson and Reed are the top prospects in the system. The Reds would prefer that each get time in Triple-A, but they can pitch their way on the team.
The Reds signed Melville, a 26-year-old right-hander, as a minor league free agent. He went 7-10 with a 4.63 ERA in Triple-A last year for Detroit. Sanchez, the 33-year-old left-hander, hasn’t pitched in the big league since 2013. He was 39-58 with a 4.70 ERA over eight years, mostly with the San Francisco Giants.
Right-hander Keyvius Sampson and left-hander Tony Cingrani will prepare as relievers.
Price did not rule out adding another veteran starter. The Reds tried to sign Bronson Arroyo, who, of course, was a unique case.
“Bronson filled multiple needs,” Price said. “There was a question mark on his durability because he hadn't pitched in a year-and-a-half, however we were all confident that wouldn't be an issue. It wasn't just for leadership, it was that we had the familiarity with Bronson, so we knew the leadership we were putting in place was of a known quantity, we knew what we were getting with Bronson.
"Sometimes you hear things about guys and they're not what you expected them to be or it takes them a while to take that leadership role. Bronson just provided, at the time, a really nice option to do multiple things for our club -- be a productive pitchers, but also be an ex-Red that's back in the family and giving us good leadership.”
Without Arroyo in the fold, Bailey will be counted on to lead.
“I think I'm going to lean a lot of Homer and Homer knows it," Price said. "Homer, as was noted, was part of the pitching summit, he was doing his rehab and was able to take part in the summit so he could be there and hear what we were talking about as far as laying a foundation and make sure our guys were accountable to the standards that we were setting during the summit.”