Cingrani decision, what’s best?
The Reds have a decision to make, or at least announce, about LHP Tony Cingrani on Saturday when Mat Latos is activated from the disabled list to start vs. the Brewers.
A. Demote Cingrani to Triple-A Louisville and have him work on his craft as a starter.
B. Demote someone else and have Cingrani stay in the big league bullpen as the long guy.
In my opinion, putting Cingrani in the bullpen has the most benefit for the team. It would give them a guy who can eat up innings when it’s needed and eventually he could transition to situations. The are pros to both choices.
The Reds rotation enters tonight with the second-most innings pitched (behind the Brewers) in the NL. The rotation has been very good this year but you could also say Bryan Price has been fortunate he’s gone without a long man all season despite the unforeseen (rain, bad outings, injuries) that can happen. How long can that good luck last?
The bullpen entered the night 13th in the NL in ERA this season, which is an improvement. But that improvement is largely to the credit of the back end where Sam LeCure, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman have been spectacular. In the front end — J.J. Hoover and Logan Ondrusek have been better but remain inconsistent overall. Sean Marshall hasn’t been close to as good as he’s been in the past. On the other hand, Cingrani has struggled in the early innings, namely the first inning, before settling in. He couldn’t afford to do that if he enters from the bullpen.
If Cingrani, who is 0-5 with a 6.26 ERA in six games, goes to Louisville… he could likely improve and be depth down the road. He could work on pitches and command in games, something he can’t really do up here.
“Basically I need to work on staying focused the whole game and repeating my mechanics every single pitch and eliminating the mistakes,” Cingrani said. “Obviously, when I make a mistake, they hit a home run. That’s not a good mistake. If I do get sent down, I’ll just work on my mind for a while and try to mix pitches and work on things that I haven’t been able to work on up here.”
As for going to the ‘pen?
“If I’m in the bullpen, I’m throwing the best stuff I can,” Cingrani said. “I don’t have to go seven innings or six innings. I only have to go maybe three. That’s a little bit easier to me than having to go seven and limiting pitch counts since I am the bullpen, I am the help this time.”
Price can see the merits of keeping Cingrani.
“When you want to win and we do – we expect to win – we want to have our best club on the field. At this point, you could make a very strong case for Tony staying with us,” Price said.
Price didn’t view Cingrani, in the short term, as a situational reliever.
“We don’t need Hoover and Ondrusek to throw four innings,” Price said. “We already have a guy that can throw 100 pitches. This kid has pitched out of the bullpen before. This isn’t so terribly new to Tony if he were to do it again. But it takes a while to get the arm resiliency back from outing to outing. To use him situationally, you might have to give him two days off to recover. I’d be more inclined to use him as a length guy maybe until we got to a point where we could use him situationally.”