Diving into the depths: Cincinnati Reds

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Cincinnati Reds
Rotation
1. Aaron Harang
2. Bronson Arroyo
3. Johnny Cueto
4. Homer Bailey
5. Micah Owings
6. Matt Maloney
7. Justin Lehr
8. Mike Lincoln
9. Aroldis Chapman
10. Travis Wood
11. Sam Lecure
12. Mike Leake
Edinson Volquez won’t be back from Tommy John surgery until midseason at the earlier and might not contribute at all this year.
I think Maloney’s a slightly better choice than Owings for the fifth spot, but the veteran will probably be the favorite going in. I’m guessing the Reds will add to the competition by signing one or two of the remaining free agent options. Noah Lowry would make sense.
Bullpen
1. Francisco Cordero
2. Nick Masset
3. Jared Burton
4. Arthur Rhodes
5. Daniel Ray Herrera
6. Carlos Fisher
7. Bill Bray
8. Micah Owings
9. Mike Lincoln
10. Pedro Viola
11. Enerio Del Rosario
12. Philippe-Alexandre Valiquette
13. Aroldis Chapman
14. Sean Watson
15. Jon Adkins
16. Logan Ondrusek
The bullpen is shaping up as a strength. Burton bounced back as last year went along, and Fisher’s ability to shut down right-handers makes him a nice complement to Rhodes and Herrera in the sixth and seventh innings.
Bray might open the year on the disabled list as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery, but the hope is that he’ll be ready to battle for a spot this spring.


Catcher
1. Ramon Hernandez
2. Ryan Hanigan
3. Corky Miller
First base
1. Joey Votto
2. Ramon Hernandez
3. Yonder Alonso
Second base
1. Brandon Phillips
2. Aaron Miles
3. Drew Sutton
4. Miguel Cairo
5. Paul Janish
6. Todd Frazier
7. Chris Valaika
Third base
1. Scott Rolen
2. Juan Francisco
3. Aaron Miles
4. Drew Sutton
5. Miguel Cairo
6. Todd Frazier
Shortstop
1. Orlando Cabrera
2. Paul Janish
3. Chris Burke
4. Zack Cozart
The depth here is still pretty unimpressive, but maybe Alonso and Francisco will prove ready to step in if Votto and Rolen are forced to miss time again this year. Rolen, at least, seems very likely to serve a DL stint or two. Of course, both of those youngsters will start off in the minors, leaving the Reds with Miles and one from the group of Cairo, Sutton and Janish to occupy utility roles.
Left field
1. Chris Dickerson
2. Wladimir Balentien
3. Laynce Nix
4. Juan Francisco
5. Todd Frazier
Center field
1. Drew Stubbs
2. Chris Dickerson
3. Chris Heisey
4. Josh Anderson
Right field
1. Jay Bruce
2. Wladimir Balentien
3. Laynce Nix
The Reds made noises at the end of last season about forcing Bruce to compete for a job this spring. Since then, though, they’ve subtracted Jonny Gomes and Willy Taveras and added no one, unless Anderson counts. So, Bruce has nothing to worry about. A Dickerson/Balentien platoon could prove surprisingly effective, but it’s still possible the Reds will add more players to that mix. Considering that Francisco, Frazier and Heisey could all factor into the mix later, I think they’re OK sticking with what they have.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

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Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.