John Lamb is only 26 years old, but it's an old 26. He began the 2016 season on the DL after offseason back surgery, and it seems like he'll do the same dang thing again in 2017.
Since Lamb came over in the Johnny Cueto deal with the Royals in July of '15, he has started 24 games. He has been both hittable and crushable (10.7 H/9, 1.7 HR/9), but he has also flashed some good stuff when healthy. Good enough, at least, to earn the benefit of the doubt from the Reds' braintrust. But as the pitching staff begins to suss out, it's looking more and more like there won't be room in the manger for him.
It's too bad, really. There is a big ol' ton of hungry young pitchers looking to make their way on this team, and there's plenty of room for those who can hack it. But Lamb isn't going to prove any doubters wrong if he spends April and May rehabbing in Goodyear. In fact, with some tough decisions on the 40-man roster to be made here really soon, Lamb is looking more and more like a DFA candidate. 26-year-olds with chronic injuries and career WHIPs over 1.6 don't keep roster spots very long.
Which is really a shame. He reminds me of Bronson Arroyo in so many ways. He has a crafty repertoire, a gutsy approach, and (I'm assuming) a thing for dive bars and tramp stamps. I think he can turn out a good career in the majors, but it just might not be with the team he broke into the big leagues.