It's here, folks. Today, the Reds pitchers and catchers report to camp, with the position players to follow on Friday. This is mostly a symbolic holiday, as most of you know. There still aren't ball games to watch, Marty still isn't on the radio, and we don't have game threads yet.
But there's something about those four words. "Pitchers and catchers report" symbolizes a light at the end of the tunnel. You can feel the weather getting warmer as you read those four words, over and over. Later on today, we'll see actual current pictures of actual baseball players wearing current Reds gear under the Arizona sun. The world will feel less cold.
Even so, nothing really happens today except seeing pictures of new guys in red, but it marks the unofficial start of baseball season, and it can't come soon enough. What's at stake at this point in camp for the guys reporting today?
1. 5th rotation spot
Opening up camp, we still have no clue what the team will do with Mike Leake, and how the rest of the rotation will shake out. A few names here are drawn in with permanent marker; Latos, Cueto, and even Bailey. Arroyo's a safe bet, just like he always is. Aroldis Chapman has the backing of management and coaching, but hasn't been there before. And of course, this leaves Mike Leake without a chair as the music stops.
2. Crowded bullpen
I'll be honest. I have no idea how this bullpen is about to look on April 1. I think Broxton and Marshall are sure bets. You have Alfredo Simon and Jose Arredondo. You have Manny Parra. You have Sam LeCure and Logan Ondrusek on his incentive-laden thing. J.J Hoover pitched great last year, and if you need another lefty, Tony Cingrani could be your guy. Nick Masset still exists (but might not be back until May)! And you may need to find a place for Mike Leake. Not counting Cingrani (who's likely to start the year in AAA), that's 10 guys for 7 spots. There'll be some tough decisions to make forthcoming, and we haven't even mentioned guys like Armando Galarraga and Clay Hensley (just signed on a minor-league deal).
3. The Mesoraco conundrum
In an ideal world, Devin Mesoraco has a torrid March and you don't even have to worry about this. But if he struggles to open up this season again, you just got a better backup than you had all last year in Miguel Olivo. He'd be more than capable of spelling Hanny if needed. This isn't as much of a "conundrum" as it is a "Devin needs to get things together a bit". Hopefully we'll see that.
What questions are you looking to get answers to in Spring Training this year?