Today, Fay reported that Dusty is not firm on Mike Leake’s position in the rotation. As Redleg Nation (almost immediately) pointed out, this is at least a 90 degree turn around from the tune he was singing a few days ago: namely, that Leake had been a good starter the last two years, thus there was no reason to think he wouldn’t be in the rotation. So, as far as I can tell, the Reds have gone from 2-3 candidates for 1 spot to 3-4 candidates for 2 rotation spots. I’m not sure what this turnaround is based on: Leake hasn’t been great in spring training, but a lot of people aren’t. And certainly in terms of last year’s performance, everyone not named Cueto was worse than Leake, and Arroyo, whose rotation spot is, apparently, guaranteed was much worse. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to believe that Arroyo won’t be better, or that Leake won’t be worse, but you could say the same vice-versa.
RLN also points out the (very popular) hypothesis that they’re planning on sending Leake (who is the only rotation candidate with options left) to Louisville to have an extra hitter’s spot until April 11th, which will be the first time that the reds will need a fifth starter. This, the reasoning goes, will give the Reds more time to decide on the bench questions, such as Frazier vs. Francisco. Everyone recognizes that this is extremely hypothetical, but, hypothetically speaking, I think this is a silly idea. Hypothetically.
The Reds did this two years ago, in the opening of the 2010 season. Similarly, having one day off, caused the Reds to send Leake to AAA for a start, keeping Francisco on the roster for five extra games. Incidentally, that Harang-Cueto-Arroyo-Bailey-Harang rotation, with Juan Francisco in the lineup, went 2-3, and Francisco contributed 1 hit in 6 AB, and struck out four times. It’s only one day! one extra game! If we didn’t have an off-day, the schedule would only be 1 day different, and I don’t think this would even be a question.
I mean, if the Reds really think that Mike Leake needs to pitch a real game on his rotation day down in Louisville, I guess that’s fine. I mean, whatever. But I really, really, hope that we’re not just going to sit on a Francisco/Frazier decision until we’ve seen like seven MLB plate appearances between the two of them. We aren’t going to learn anything new.
Perhaps this is just me being frustrated with all the unresolved questions still remaining. We only have a couple more games in ST left. I know it’s probably not that important, but I’m not excessively pleased with knowing less information as time goes on.