The Batteries Come to Goodyear: Pitchers and Catchers Report OPEN Thread

Today is the first major landmark on the road from Spring Training to Regular Season: Pitchers and catchers officially report to Reds camp in Goodyear, AZ.  It's mostly a symbolic event - a bunch of players have already arrived ahead of the deadline and everybody's pretty much just playing catch - but it's a nice reminder of the sunnier, baseball-drenched days ahead.

A little inventory: The Reds have 28 pitchers and 6 catchers in major league camp (you have to love those odds if you're a catcher). The club's total spring roster count is 54, its smallest since 1999, which seems to reflect Management's stated satisfaction with its current cast, most notably the core players they extended (or tried to extend) this off-season. Of course, 1999 was also the last time the Reds topped 95 wins, which leads me to believe in a direct, causal link between smaller rosters and WINNING.

Nine of the 28 pitchers in camp are lefties, which is well in line with the roughly 30% representation of lefties in the big leagues as a whole. Based on how teams - and the Reds in particular - construct their active rosters, there's probably spots set aside for two lefties in the 'pen and a preference for having at least one lefty in the rotation. If Chapman and Bray are locks, you could also see an additional lefty like Dontrelle Willis (non-roster invite) or Matt Maloney join their number. Donnie Joseph also pitches gauche and shouldn't be written off entirely just because he hasn't been to Louisville yet.

The Reds generally keep their pitching staff at 12, though last year they added extra bat - Juan Francisco - for the first week of the season, delaying  Mike Leake's addition to the roster until he was needed. The team won't need a fifth starter this season until April 10, conveniently enough, at Arizona. But this scheme isn't nearly as workable - or desirable - now that Leake and Wood are both on the 40-man roster. By my reading of the rules, both would have to be optioned after the season technically begins and spend less than 20 total days in the minors to avoid burning an option. I'm pretty sure this is completely out of the question for Homer Bailey, who is out of options.

UPDATE: Baker said that, in addition to the Trinity of Arroyo, Cueto and Volquez, Bailey, Leake, Wood, LeCure and Maloney are all officially in the starter mix, with Maloney and LeCure being considered for the bullpen also. No surprises here.

What to watch for:

  • Mike Leake has apparently bulked up. Can you spot his new sinews?
  • Just like the Mike Lincoln starting pitching experiment last Spring, there may be some kind of offbeat grist for the discussion/complaint mill in the early-going. Especially now that the Chapman novelty has worn off. OK. It hasn't worn off.
  • Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan giving Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal sidelong stares across the weight room. Without a name like "Yasmani" or nickname like "Clutchman Monie," Hanigan especially must be afraid everyone will forget he's so good at not making outs and fielding a premium defensive position.
  • What surprise roster move(s) will be made this time around? I'm secretly hoping Dusty does something insane, like announcing Jeremy Horst will be the Opening Day starter. Then he can wave his new, extended contract around like, "Is this what you wanted?" But then, someone points out the No Horst clause in his contract and it's not so funny anymore.
  • Travis Wood is set to take residence as the rotation's lone southpaw. While he only pitched half a season last year, don't forget: he works out with Cliff Lee. That, and while my memory is a little hazy after the long winter, I think he would have thrown a perfect game if not for James Joyce calling Andres Gallaraga safe at first.

Other notes:

Baseball Tonight is sending John Kruk and Tim Kurkjian Reds camp today and will be broadcasting some kind of something from Goodyear. Check your local listings.

Speaking of cable television, there's going to be 4 whole Reds Cactus League games broadcast on Fox Sports Ohio. Via John Fay's blog, here's the Red's Spring Training TV schedule:

Date

Day

Time

Opponent

3/7

Mon

3pm EST

vs. Milwaukee

3/12

Sat

4pm EST

@ Chicago Cubs (Las Vegas, NV)

3/17

Thurs

4pm EST

vs. Cleveland

3/25

Thurs

4pm EST

vs. Texas

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