Leake to start Saturday

*We may have a little insight into the Reds rotation for the season. Dusty Baker revealed this morning that Mike Leake will start the first Cactus League game vs. the Indians on Saturday. Homer Bailey will start Sunday vs. Cleveland. Both guys are expected to go two innings. Baker knows but would not name the starters after Sunday.

“Yeah, but I’ll give it to you later,” Baker said. “Something could happen between now and then. You don’t want to go too far.”

*Bronson Arroyo said he was told he was pitching on March 7 (Wednesday).

*There are a couple of scenarios possible for the regular season rotation since everything is lined up leading to Johnny Cueto on Opening Day. Is Leake going to be the No. 4 starter and Bailey at No. 5? We might know a little more once Monday’s starter is revealed…but based on this it would seem the order is Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Leake, Bailey. Of course, there is the Chapman issue as well. It’s not the biggest deal in the world what the order of pitchers are once off days and rainouts get mixed in during the regular season, but it’s certainly interesting for conversation.

*I wrote about him the other day, but LHP Jeff Francis came up in the morning session with the manager. Francis has an outside chance here in camp on a Minor League contract.

“He’s looked pretty good. We’re going to give him a very good look,” Baker said. “He’s seriously one of seven or eight possible guys. If someone gets hurt or something happens, you don’t know. They say you can never have enough pitching.”

If the Reds had a doomsday scenario like last spring when they had two guys get hurt and one get sick, and one having visa issues…Francis would be a solid-enough guy with plenty of experience to add into the rotation.

*In some rare NBA news on this blog, count Baker as one who was happy to hear the Sacramento Kings struck an arena deal to remain in the city. Baker lives in Sacarmento.

“I’ve had those tickets for my Dad since they first got into town. I’ve given that team a lot of money,” Baker said. “My son goes to the games to see everybody else. He’s one of those kinds of fans. He’s seen Shaquille O’Neal. He met Carmelo with the Knicks. He’s met Stoudamire and a few others. He didn’t meet his real hero, LeBron, but he met Dewayne Wade. He has every jersey in the world. Whoever is playing, he’ll run up and put the jersey on. Whoever is winning, that’s who he’ll keep on wearing.”


I’m very curious to see what Mr. Baker decides for the starting rotation. I don’t see us really having a choice with Bailey being out of options. My thoughts FWIW – Chapman and Leake are going to battle this spring for the fourth spot or to the pen – with the latter being available to move up in the event of an injury. Choosing Leake as our Spring Opener validates this for me. It scares me to think we spent so much money on Chapman to be in the bullpen again.

Chapman must either be in the bullpen (unlikely) or starting at Louisville…he is not stretched out and prepared to start at the big league level out of the gate. Think of Chapman as one of the old bonus baby signings in the old days. He’s only entering his third year. Most bonus babies of yesteryear or number one choices of contemporary times wouldn’t have even sniffed the bigs only two years in. The return on the investment will come in the out years, not during the development years. Have patience!

It would be a shame if Leake is not a starter this year! He was the team leader in wins last year even after the mistake he made. My opinion, if Chapman makes it as a starter, Homer goes to the pen. Leake is not a bullpen guy as we have seen, and Bailey could do well there. Guess we will see!

I honestly don’t think this is even a discussion. It’s going to be those five guys starting the season in the rotation. Chapman will start the season in the rotation in Louisville. If he has a great spring, they’ll say he isn’t stretched out enough and he’ll come up when someone gets hurt or someone is completely ineffective. He isn’t going to the bullpen, that would be a waste and wouldn’t help him move closer to starting. Leake won’t sniff the pen, never will, and never should.

Pretty much agree though I do see a slightly stronger possibility (though still not strong) that Chapman will be used again in the pen…only because Dusty has openly, vocally contemplated it though I don’t recall whether it was in this article or another I saw…I think the latter.

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