Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Some problems are good problems

Everyone I know is playing some sort of a private investigators role when it comes to their favorite ball club - there isn't a lot to jib-jab about at the office water cooler yet, but there is a lot of information to personally digest at the moment prior to that glorious spring day when the first of 162 games erupts nation wide.

Of all the clubs, the Reds have not only taken a lot of the mainstream spotlight, but has acquired much of my free-time. The Reds currently have a pretty good problem on their hands - and all eyes are on the fifth spot in the rotation.

Mike Leake and star closer Aroldis Chapman are both competing for a spot in the rotation - the front office is dead-set on getting the fireballer Chapman in the top five, after all that is what they signed him for right? I remember last year the same issue was a hot topic, but Spring Training was a clear sign that Chapman's endurance problems kept him in a closer role,  and it worked out just fine - Chapman quickly became the leagues most intimidating closers, almost untouchable. I have seen the Cuban missile fire triple-digit four seamers and mid-90's off speed pitches in person - I've witnessed some of the the games best hitters swing hard and hit but only one thing right on the screws, a trip back to the dugout.

I would love to see Chapman in the rotation, but even if it was a epic failure, we still have the games greatest closer at our disposal, and in the same respect, Mike Leake is a young but very capable starter. He cut his hippy hair and is looking pretty good in his last couple Spring Training starts - bottom line is its again, a good problem to have. Reds' skipper Dusty Baker mentioned late last year that you'll never know until you try, and this was regarding Chapman's prowess as a starter.

On the receiving end of the two-seamer there lies another situation - will rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco get another shot on the roster or will he get some more time taking swings in AAA? My .02 is that he gets the start, he works well with the team, he is learning, he is defensively solid but needs some time looking at big league pitchers - I nervously tuned into his first Spring Training at bat while retired pitcher and Reds radio WLW commentator Jeff "Cowboy" Brantley began mentioning is how comfortable Mez looked in the batters box, a little choked up, and a little bit "at-ease", after running the count 0-2 I feared that Mez still wasn't seeing pitches very well, luckily the 2-2 pitch was crushed over 400+ feet at Goodyear Arizona - a good sign and huge confidence builder for the young pup. Speaking of crushed leather, anyone keeping an eye on Jay Bruce? If not you should be, I have large bets claiming that Bruce will retire with similar stats to Mickey Mantle, a player who rarely gets mentioned or compared to modern players, but no better time than now right?

As I relax in my hotel room on yet another business trip in eastern North Carolina, I get to catch up on shows like River Monsters and Duck Dynasty and read endless articles about baseball without spousal or other interruptions from the kids. Did I get a chance to stay up until 11:30pm to catch a World Baseball Classic game? yes sir I did - unfortunately there are not any Wednesday games, I've been to all the local bars and diners and there isn't much left to do here, work is done, baseball is a few weeks away, and I'll be back in the great state of Ohio tomorrow and hundreds of miles closer to my beloved Great American Ballpark and fellow fans who don't look at a my Reds ball cap and question what state Cincinnati is in. 

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