Stating v. relief for the young arms
There's no question that Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez and Homer Baiely have three of the best arms in camp. They're being prepared as starters. So, if they don't make the rotation, do they start the year in the minors?
“Not necessarily," Dusty Baker said. "I come from the Dodger way. With young guys, the next best thing is long relief. It’s in between starting and relieving. It’s probably the less pressure on the staff because most of the time you’re coming in when you’re behind. We did it with Dave Burba in San Francisco, and he ended up winning nine, 10 games.
"Throw up zeros, so the offense can come back. You can’t let add on or trade runs. That’s where that guy is really important. If you’re not going to come back (and win games), you’re not going to win the pennant or the wild card. You need a guy who allows you to come back.”
Nolan Ryan, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Don Gullett and Roy Oswalt are among the dominant starters who began their careers in the bullpen.
"A lot of young guys start out in long relief," Baker said. "If a guy’s not going to start, that’s the next best thing.”
This will make for interesting decisions at the end. The Reds owe Mike Stanton and Todd Coffey a lot of money. They're going to have to pay them regardless of whether they're on the team or not. Sounds like Baker would like to go with 11 or 12 best arms.