The early stages of the Cincinnati Reds' reboot made one point very clear, that being that the team was focused on finding as many talented arms as possible to form their next great rotation. None of Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Cody Reed, John Lamb, Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Melville - Tim Mellville?, or Brandon Finnegan were even in the Reds system when the team's pitching staff posted the 5th most fWAR in all of baseball across the 2012-2013 seasons, yet they seem set to be the group from which the team's rotation is chosen. The Enquirer's C. Trent Rosecrans confirmed as much when he spoke with Bryan Price in Goodyear on Friday, adding that Jon Moscot, Michael Lorenzen, and Robert Stephenson all will figure into the mix, too.
That's quite a deep competition, but absurd quantity is never a bad thing given that we all know There's No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. Like, say, Tony Cingrani, who was once a consensus Top 100 prospect and actually led the entire National League in K/9 among pitchers who threw at least 100 innings in 2013...yet now will be in the bullpen thanks to repeated shoulder issues, according to WCPO's John Fay. That tenet of front office preparedness is spelling itself out quite authoritatively in Reds camp, since both Lamb and Homer Bailey are coming off surgery and won't be ready by Opening Day, either.
Fay's tweet also included that Keyvius Sampson will also work out as a reliever, and Doug Gray dug deeper into that transition over at RedsMinorLeagues.com.
Price's quotes hinted that the team may still have interest in adding a veteran starting pitcher, but not until later in camp. Presumably, the team wants to get a few weeks of better looks at the crowd that's already in camp, and adding a known quantity at this point would only further cloud what they're attempting to get clearly observe. Guys like Kyle Lohse or Justin Masterson are still on the market, as are unlikely names like Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee, so there are still a few options remaining should the Reds see a glaring problem in the coming weeks. If you'd like a mroe comprehensive list of veteran SPs still available, have at it.
Both Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton received permission to report to camp and get an early start this year since both are coming off major surgeries that cut short their 2015 seasons. Also from @RedsPR's Spring Training Notebook comes news that 54 of the 61 players invited to Goodyear have already reported (with the 23rd being the official report date). For all the daily press releases while the team is in Goodyear, check out redspressbox.com, which archives them (and has tons of other informational resources for your perusal.)
Sad news in the baseball world: former big leaguer Tony Phillips apparently passed away from a heart attack at age 56. Phillips was a favorite of mine when I was growing up, and he put together a remarkable career. He posted 50.8 career bWAR, amassed over 2,000 hits, led all of baseball with 132 walks in 1993, and was long one of the best top of the order hitters the game could boast. Though he was no Hall of Famer, his career always seemed to be just as overlooked as his Detroit Tigers teammates Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, both of whom should've been locks for the Hall. Rest in peace, Tony.
Tony Phillips: tremendously underrated player. 50.8 career WAR is the highest for any post-1933 player that never made an All-Star team.— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) February 19, 2016