Bell believes pitching remains the Reds’ main strength

By Hal McCoy

Trevor Bauer is gone. So forget him.

Anthony DeSclafani is gone. So forget him.

Sonny Gray isn’t gone. . .yet. If rumors of a trade come to fruition, forget him, too.

So where does that leave the Cincinnati Reds pitching rotation for 2021?

That leaves three gargantuan holes to be filled? Where to start and who to start? Who joins Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle?

Michael Lorenzen has lobbied to be a starter for the last three years. He has mainly been in the bullpen, with some mixed-in outfield duty. And he started a couple of games last season.

“No decision has been made,” said manager David Bell. “I have a ton of confidence in Michael Lorenzen to be a starter and reliever. I have a lot of confidence in him as an outfielder and a position player. So we’ll have to see how that plays out.”

Well, that doesn’t much answer that question, does it?

“Lorenzen obviously showed last year what he can do (as a starter),” Bell added. “If it turns out that it is in the best interest of our team to be a starter, we know he can step in there and be a big part of our rotation.”

So, if he does start on the mound, what about his time as a fill-in outfielder?

“I don’t think it would eliminate him as a pinch-hitter or position player,” Bell added. “In some ways, it makes it easier if he is a starter, makes it a little more predictable. We could come up with a plan that on certain days between his starts he could be fully available.”

One of the candidates Bell mentioned was 27-year-old righthander Jeff Hoffman, acquired recently in a trade that sent Robert Stephenson to the Colorado Rockies.

“Hoffman could serve as a starter or could end up in the bullpen,” said Bell.

Hoffman did both in his five years with the Rockies after he was a first-round draftee by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014. The Shaker Heights, Oh. native appeared in 68 games while with the Rockies and was 10-16 over 38 starts and 30 relief appearances.

He was all bullpen last season, 16 times for a 2-1 record and a 6.40 earned run average.

“As far as our rotation, obviously Trevor Bauer being a free agent has to play out,” said Bell. “We still see the rotation as the strength of our team. Other than Trevor, we’re still in a good place with our rotation.”

That, of course, is if Gray isn’t shipped away.

The bullpen, too, needs more than a twist and a tweak after the club declined to offer Archie Bradley a contract, after they traded closer Raisel Iglesias and if the move Lorenzen into the rotation.

“We had some guys step up last year,” said Bell. “T.J. Antone came out of nowhere and was a big part of our success. Lucas Sims had a big year. And a guy like Sal Romano, who has worked so hard to get an opportunity. Maybe he gets that chance this year. And we have Amir Garrett.

“We have guys like that who can step up,” he added. “We really believe in the formula we have in place to have a successful bullpen. Even though the personnel may be a little bit different, we are very confident moving forward.”

Amir Garrett makes it clear he plans to move forward as the closer replacement for the departed Iglesias and minces no words about it.

Garrett, a lefthander, possesses a slider that seems invisible to lefthanded hitters and barely visible to righthanders.

His intentions were on his left sleeve after he recorded his one career save against Pittsburgh late last season. After recording the final out, he did a victory jig and captured the baseball to place in a prominent spot on his mantel.

“It’s time for me to go to the next level,” he said. “I want to be a lockdown closer. I want to come in in the ninth inning and shut the game down.

“It fits my mentality. You guys know how I pitch,” he said to the writers. “I’m a dog out there. I’m fiery. I do what I do and have fun playing the game and that’s what my calling was.”

Anybody wh0 doubts the dog in Garrett, well, the pit bull in him, need only ask the Pittsburgh Pirates of two seasons ago. Garrett barged from the pitching mound and sprinted to the Pittsburgh dugout and challenged the entire team to a one-on-25 skirmish.

“The job is mine. I’m taking it. My time is now. I’m going to prove it,” he said.

And who in their right mind is going to challenge the 6-foot-5, 240-pound former St. John’s basketball player.


One thought on “Bell believes pitching remains the Reds’ main strength”

  1. If the Reds trade Castillo and Gray and loose Bauer thru free agency, they will be lucky to win 60 games if they play 162!! Hal, please write your own feelings about the day Bob bought the Reds and i will share what he said and why since the day he bought the club he has failed the Reds nation, the city of Cincinnati and crying poverty again!!! One season they go all in and failed.. so back to 5 seasons of rebuilds with all the rumours of trading Saurez, Moose, Castillo and Gray???
    “Dear Cincinnati Reds Fans,

    We are proud to be the new owners of America’s first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.

    We’re long-time baseball fans who have grown up with the Reds and have fond memories of going to the ballpark. In our lifetime, we faithfully cheered on the Reds through three World Series championships, six National League championships and eight division titles.

    We know this team truly belongs to you, and we understand what the Reds mean to our city and our region. We know what a winning team can do for a city’s pride. We also understand the unique legacy the Reds hold in baseball history and the potential to reignite an American love affair with the nation’s first professional baseball team.

    It is with a sense of both responsibility and respect that we pledge to Reds fans:
    • We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati. The Reds have a long tradition of success. Only three cities have won more World Series than Cincinnati. We will work hard to be a championship team again.
    • We will build one of the most respected organizations in baseball. As partners in other successful baseball organizations we know how it’s done. We will build a winning management team by putting the right people in the right positions with the right resources to win. We will foster a winning attitude and culture.
    • We will have a greater community presence. We will continue to improve the lives of area children by building on already successful Reds Community Fund programs like the Rookie Success League. Whether it’s providing a way for inner-city children to play baseball or generating funds for charity, we’ll take this outreach to a new level.
    • We will rekindle the Reds Nation spirit. We’ll share our story and our strategy, communicating directly with fans everywhere who want to know what is going on. When you visit the ballpark, we’ll periodically be asking for your feedback so we can continuously improve the experience. Our goal is that you feel a part of the Reds Nation whether you’re at the game, listening on the radio or living in another major league city.
    • We will not rest until you are happy. The Reds are, after all, your team. You buy the tickets. You watch the games. You support us financially and emotionally. Without you, the Reds cannot be great. We know you won’t be happy until the team wins. We won’t be happy, either.
    Bringing championship baseball to Cincinnati is the ultimate goal. Like you we believe in the power, potential and magic of the Cincinnati Reds. We will work tirelessly to bring a winner home to you.

    We thank you for this opportunity and hope to earn your support.

    Robert H. Castellini
    Chief Executive Officer W. Joseph Williams, Jr.
    Chairman of the Board Thomas Williams
    Vice-Chairman of the Board”

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