Good curveballs can catch you off guard and genuinely make you look silly. Raisel Iglesias has one, and so too do the Cincinnati Reds, apparently, as they threw us all one on Monday by announcing that Iglesias will start for them against the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day.
Reds vs Phi: Iglesias, Finnegan, TBA. Reds vs Pit: Simon, Iglesias, TBA.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 28, 2016
It had long been presumed that Anthony DeSclafani would get the nod on Opening Day, as the righty threw the most innings of any incumbent starter in camp and led all MLB rookie pitchers in fWAR in 2015. Not only will Disco not be starting Opening Day, he has apparently joined the lengthy list of walking wounded Reds pitchers, as an oblique strain will keep him out until April 10th at the earliest.
Remember when the Reds were targeting "too many pitchers" with their trades of veterans over the last year plus? Well, they've now got Homer Bailey, John Lamb, Michael Lorenzen, Jon Moscot, and Anthony DeSclafani on various shelves, and Iglesias - whose start to Cactus League play was pushed back in order to let his shoulder fatigue dissipate - is now being asked to pick up the early load. The team made a late move to sign Alfredo Simon due to the sudden lack of pitching depth, and the move to add Ross Ohlendorf just last week was similarly done as an emergency patch to the staff. Both of those came prior to the news about DeSclafani, however, which makes you wonder if they'll have eyes on adding another bargain veteran before games begin for real next week.
(Moscot, for what it's worth, worked 2 innings in a minor league game on Monday as he attempts to come back from an intercostal strain.)
It's somewhat unfortunate in the grand scheme, but it's also an exciting opportunity for Iglesias, the 26 year old who dazzled at times in 2015. He's undeniably talented, but after having thrown only 124.1 innings between MLB and AAA in 2015 (after just 7 in 2014), asking him to be team ace and workhorse from day one of the season is a tall order.
Reds fans, keep your throwing arms loose just in case...at this rate, they're going to need you this season, too.