Saturday, April 13, 2013

RR Roundtable: Is now the time for Tony Cingrani?

Tony Cingrani has been outstanding in AAA so far. Is it time he join the Reds rotation?
Once more, RR staffers convene for a discussion of some of the week's hottest topics in Redlegs country. Joining the panel this time around are Scott Eddy (@scotte97) who also serves as moderator, Jimmi Adair (@Redlegs_Review), Dan Howard (@DaHermit16) and Jesse Welte (@RedlegsWriter). This week we ask just how concerned we should be about Sean Marshall, if Tony Cingrani is a better option than Mike Leake right now, if Aroldis Chapman is the game's best closer and we discuss some really sweet baseball promotions.

1) Sean Marshall finally landed on the DL this week suffering from that mysterious “shoulder fatigue.” This seems to be bringing back bad memories of previous Reds injuries that seemed minor, didn’t fade away and all of a sudden led to very bad results (Nick Masset, anyone?). How concerned are you that Marshall might be worse off than the team is letting on?

Scott: We’re in the red in terms of concern level right now. It seems like we’ve seen this story play out too many times before – and it never seems to have a happy ending. The only positive here is that Marshall was able to pitch last weekend, effectively no less, so hopefully this is just a minor setback. Losing Marshall for a long period would be crushing, though, because it completely changes the dynamics of Dusty’s ‘pen.

Dan: I hope this isn’t hiding a more serious condition, as in, bursitis, or a torn rotator cuff. Maybe 15 days of rest will bring him back to normal.

Jimmi: I think it's important to remember how rare it is for teams to misdiagnose players the way the Reds did with Masset. Normally, medical staffs nowadays are pretty good at identifying injuries and predicting timetables for their return. Am I little concerned about the health of Marshall? Definitely. But I for one believe Marshall's condition isn't serious enough to where it'll cost him any significant time beyond a couple more weeks.

Jesse: I'm not overly concerned with Marshall's status at this point since the MRI showed no damage. If the regular season weeks start to turn to months then I will start to worry. I'm starting to think this played into both the Aroldis Chapman and Manny Parra decisions though. 

2) Dusty Baker said this week the Reds considered calling up lefty prospect Tony Cingrani to replace Sean Marshall, but opted for Logan Ondrusek instead. Baker went on to say Cingrani is “our first call-up if one of our starters goes down.” Are you happy the Reds are being patient – or do you have an inkling Cingrani could be better than Mike Leake right now?

Jimmi: I'm glad the Reds have decided to stay patient with Cingrani. He will get his chance to prove himself in the big leagues one day, so why rush the young southpaw? Additionally, I continue to believe Leake is primed for a much better season in 2013 than the one he experienced in 2012. Let's stay the course and not pull the trigger on either one too quickly, unless an injury to one of the starters does occur.

Scott: Cingrani has been outstanding to start the year at Louisville. Actually, “outstanding” doesn’t quite do it justice – he’s posted 21 strikeouts in just 12.1 innings for the Bats. Not to mention he put up a 1.73 ERA with 172 strikeouts in 146 innings last year. I’m very glad the Reds didn’t push him for a reliever’s role – he needs to be starting every fifth day. That said, in the few times I’ve seen him pitch, I believe he’d be better than Leake right now – and it might not be close. Still, patience is probably best for his long-term development. Let’s wait until the All-Star Break (barring injury) and revisit things.

Jesse: I'm glad the Reds are being patient but I also do have an inkling that Cingrani is better than Leake. I think Leake will get 5 or 6 starts before the organization starts to look at replacing him with Cingrani. There's been some concern that Cingrani won't be able to hold up as a starter his whole career, given the history of pitchers from Rice, so I would keep a moderate leash on Leake and call Cingrani up no later than mid-June if he continues to perform and Leake does not. The Reds should get every starting inning out of him they can if he continues to look good at Triple-A. Team performance will also play a role in the decision. 

Dan: After watching J.J. Hoover give up his 375th home run this season (I’m slightly over estimating) Friday, let’s give Cingrani a shot, Leake really hasn’t been very impressive in his first two starts this season.

3)’s David Schoenfield ranked Aroldis Chapman as the second-best closer in all of baseball in a column this week, behind only Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel. Is that ranking too high? Not high enough? Just right?

Jesse: I agree with Schoenfield. Ranking Chapman right behind Kimbrel is right. Kimbrel has been doing it longer and with great success. They're both very effective though and will be closing for several years to come. Chapman is dominant enough to justify being ahead of everyone else too. I bet if you asked Major League batters in the National League which closer they least like to face, almost every answer would be Kimbrel or Chapman. 

Scott: It’s a fair ranking. There are people who would argue it is too high because of Chapman’s control issues from time to time, but for my money, there’s no one I’d rather hand the ball to in the ninth inning right now. When Chapman is humming the fastball at 102 and mixing in that devastating slider, I’ll take my chances with that any time. Kimbrel, by the way, was lacking a bit of velocity in back-to-back days vs. Miami this week.

Dan: Only second best? Does Mr. Schoenfield not have access to any Reds games? I agree with Scott, ninth inning, game on the line, give the ball to Chapman and it will soon be game over.

Jimmi: I think it's a fair assessment. Can you really name two better closers in the game right now over Chapman and Kimbrel. I didn't think so. All I can really say is I'm glad The Cuban Missile is on our team.

This was a real PNC Park giveaway.
4) The Pittsburgh Pirates had a pretty amazing giveaway on Friday when the Reds were in town, handing out free T-shirts with a photo of A.J. Burnett giving some type of gang-looking sign. This could either be looked at as amazingly cool – or just amazingly bad. Either way, it’s a memorable giveaway. What’s your all-time favorite baseball promotion?

Scott: The minor leagues do some great promotions and as a veteran MiLB front office employee I can attest to some of the amazing things the minors do. The all-time best in my opinion, though, was the Peoria Chiefs holding a “LeBron James NBA Championship Replica Giveaway Night” back in 2011. This was just after LeBron and the Heat were defeated by the Mavericks in the finals so of course the giveaway was just an awesome joke and the fans received non-existent rings – in other words, they came away with nothing. Still hilarious – and its unfortunate that no one can ever do this promotion again, but I digress.

Dan: I remember the worst promotion ever, Disco Demolition Night in Chicago back in 1979. This promotion was held between games of a doubleheader, and turned into a full fledged riot. The revelers got so disruptive it caused the White Sox to forfeit the second game to the Detroit Tigers. I think promotions are great, but the only thing that will put “butts in the seats” is winning baseball.

Jesse: The best giveaway I ever was part of was at a Louisville Bats game where they gave away kazoos to every fan and we all "kazoo-ed" Take Me Out to the Ball Game and set a Guiness world record for the most kazoos being played at once in one place. I think it has since been broken. Sad face.

Jimmi: I've always been a sucker for the bobble head giveaways. I tend to circle the dates of those games when I see the schedule each year. As far as practicality, I really enjoyed the fleece blanket the Reds gave out a couple seasons ago. The temperature was hovering around 35 degrees that day and the blanket came in really handy. From a comical standpoint, the Lennay Kekua giveaway the Florence Freedom are planning to host soon may be one of the funniest I can remember. Fans will receive a bobble head of Kekua, which is essentially an empty box.

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