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Red Reposter - Rotation updates and around the NL Central

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Aaron Harang's determined to rebound after a disappointing 2009.
Aaron Harang's determined to rebound after a disappointing 2009.
  • Fay - Baker isn’t ready to commit to Harang for opener 
    HT to The C's fanshot. There's also some discussion about the 5th spot, which will be one of the bigger questions for the team this spring. Chapman is still listed as a candidate. So is Travis Wood, Justin Lehr, and the usual suspects. 
  • Sheldon - Leake aiming high in first Spring Training
    Mike Leake is not going to make the Opening Day rotation, but he's shooting for the moon, as he should.  Leake's coming off a brief but impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League last year. In six games he posted a 1.37 ERA with three walks and 15 strikeouts.  As Sheldon points out there's probably no player more grateful than Leake that the Reds switched its spring training venue to Arizona. 
  • More Sheldon - Harang, Price working on mechanics
    Good to hear that new pitching coach Bryan Price has been studying and working with Aaron Harang:

    When it came to mechanics, new Reds pitching coach Bryan Price noticed some mechanical issues with Harang, and it was brought up during their initial phone call during the offseason....  "I saw something, and when we talked, it was something he was already addressing. "When I looked at his video, I noticed he was a short strider that didn't really get his legs involved a lot with his delivery. He was actually detached from the rubber. The ball was still in his hand, but his back foot was off the rubber. That's kind of his power source. When I called him this winter and asked what he was doing, he said he was working on his hip flexibility and mechanics and on being able to use his legs more to drive the ball through."

    It would be interesting to see if his stride changed before and after the two games he's been misused during the past two seasons - the 2008 marathon game in San Diego and the 2009 rain delay game against Houston.  Chad from RLN breaks down the splits, and while correlation isn't causation this is at the very least a very odd coincidence (and relevant!).
  • One potentially interesting story in 2010 is the team options for Harang and Bronson Arroyo in 2011.  Harang's option is 12.75M option, and while Bronson's is listed as 11M it could escalate to 13M "based on innings."  I can't find anything more specific than that, but if Arroyo is his normal 200+ IP workhorse I would think he'd meet the escalation threshold.  Each option carries a 2M buyout.  So the true cost of each option will be around 11M given the buyout's sunk cost (if you don't follow, Gray will be posting office hours shortly).  I can't see the team exercising both options even if Aaron and Bronson pitch well, given the money owed in '11 for BP, Cordero, Rolen, and Votto's arbitration.  But maybe the team will take one of the two options if the performance warrants it.
  • More Fay - Reds' Bray feels stronger 
    Sounds like Bill Bray will be throwing harder, better, and faster in 2010. It's been nine months since Bray's TJ surgery. The team will try to give Bray a few innings in ST games and hope that he can contribute again like he did in 2008. 
    After the jump, a look at what the competition is up to.

  • Milwaukee JSOnline - Brewers' rotation can't get worse
    The Brewers hope to have much better rotation in 2010.  It couldn't get much worse:  there’s almost no way the starting rotation can be as bad as it was during the 2009 season....  Its 5.37 earned run average ranked last in the National League and tied with Baltimore for worst in the majors. Of 67 starting pitchers in the NL who worked at least 100 innings, the Brewers had three of the worst 10.... The Brewers were the first team since Colorado in 2001 to have four pitchers make at least 20 starts and post ERAs over 5.00, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.  The additions of lefties Randy Wolf and Doug Davis will help some.  
  • Viva El Birdos - Spring Training Storylines
    Thirdbase is wide open. Between that and Brendan Ryan's surgery, the left side of that infield could be very weak for St. Louis this season. Also, in case you didn't hear the Cardinals have a new hitting coach.
  • The Crawfish Boxes - What's the Astros' Batting Order Like?
    Like several question marks. Michael Bourn is penciled in as the leadoff.  Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, and Hunter Pence are slated for the 3-5 spots. The four remaining non-pitcher spots will be some permutation of Kaz Matsui, Pedro Feliz, Jason Castro, and Tommy Manzella (who?). Whatever they choose, that's going to be a weak latter half of the lineup. Seems like even when they were good Houston often overcame a weak bottom of the order. Adam Everett and Brad Ausmus certainly had their strengths but they also meant a near guaranteed 1-2-3 inning.
  • - Nady altering throwing mechanics
    New OF Xavier Nady, who's coming off his second TJ surgery, reported early to Cubs camp to work with pitching coach Larry Rothschild on changing his throwing mechanics.   Nady will be used as a 1B/DH in ST.  He'll likely split time in RF with Kosuke Fukudome in the regular season.
  • Bucs Dugout - Roberto Clemente's FBI File
    I can't get worked up about the Pirates' fifth starter battle or whether Neil Walker should try catching again. But the FBI's file on Roberto Clemente is mildly intriguing, even if the investigation doesn't seem that substantial.  
    Also, SP Ross Ohlendorf interned with the Department of Agriculture this offseason, finishing a cost-benefit analysis on a program that traces disease in cattle, poultry, swine, goats and sheep, and its effect on farmers.