We have a very good dilemma facing us after the All-Star break. What will the Rotation look like? A lot of this is hard to determine, due to players coming back from injuries. However this is a great situation for our Reds to be in. Its not without a lot of questions though and the Manager and Front Office have to be extremely careful here. With a few players coming off injuries and another making the jump from College to the Majors, we have to be very careful not to over use anyone.
When everyone comes back we have: Homer Bailey, Edinson Volquez, Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang, and possibly Sam LeCure. Sam LeCure has already been demoted. Its not so much the way he pitched as it was to get another player in the Pen, according to Dusty Baker and others. So even if you assume that LeCure is the first 'odd man out' that still leaves one more to get to a 5 man rotation. Obviously when Volquez is healthy he will be with the Major League Team. Some have said that Volquez should be moved to the Pen for the rest of the year. I'm not sure I like that move, even though it would strengthen our Pen immediately. The problem is, if he is moved to the Pen, we have to be even more cautious with him. Pitching on back to back days, or 3 out of 4 days is worse on an arm coming off TJ surgery. With that said, we would have a Pitcher in the pen who could only pitch every other day at the most. I prefer to keep Volquez in the rotation, but wouldn't be totally against him in the Pen. As of now it looks like he will be a Starter, from his rehab starts. In my opinion we still have to be cautious with him. We can't risk his future for this year, no matter how close we are to the division title. I think he should be a starter but, we need to watch his innings and pitch count very closely. We should also try to give him an extra day of rest whenever possible. The problem with all of this is that we already have one pitcher in this situation. Mike Leake!
As everyone knows, Mike Leake made the jump straight from College to the Majors. Even though he hasn't had high pitch counts in his starts, he is still going to throw a lot more innings than he ever has. As I said above, we can't risk our future for this year. We have options, and a good chance to continue winning this year while setting our staff up to be dominant for the next few years. They have been cautious with him so far. In my opinion they have done a very good job handling Leake so far. Giving him an extra day off, allowing him to skip a start, watching his pitch count, and watching how many innings he pitches. So if we have to be careful with Mike Leake and Volquez then that is going to put even more pressure on our Pen. On top of that you have to factor in that, Homer Bailey may have to be monitored when he comes back and we run the risk of over using our Pen, who has struggled at times this year.
With all this said, what do we do with our rotation after the All-Star break. It has to make sense for us to continue to stay in competition this year while not mortgaging the future. Look at what our rotation could be next year if we don't ruin any of our arms: Volquez, Cueto, Arroyo, Leake, and either Bailey or Chapman. I believe with the injuries the club has to get very creative with the Rotation in the second half. I don't exactly have the answer but with Volquez, Bailey, and Leake they should be able to come up with something to allow them to have plenty of rest between starts. What does everyone think? What do we do with the rotation after the All-Star break? Is there a way that we could use Bailey, Volquez, and Leake as essentially 2 starters. Allowing them to have an extra day off and to skip every 3rd start? Has this been done before? Leake could be sent down to the minors whenever they need to clear out an extra spot for the Bullpen. Does this seem like a possibility? Is there other options here that have been discussed? I would like everyone to give their opinions on what we could do to make sure that we don't cause an injury to any of our young arms, while still making sure that we compete and give ourselves the best chance to make the Playoffs.