It’s no secret that the Reds pitching staff has struggled so far in the 2010 season. It’s also no secret that a young fireballer in the Reds Minor League system could be the answer to a struggling starting rotation.
But I’m not talking about Aroldis Chapman, I’m talking about Edinson Volquez.
Volquez will make his way to Triple-A Louisville to make his next start after dominating for Class A Lynchburg in two starts. In two starts for Lynchburg Volquez threw eight scoreless innings and only gave up three hits while striking out seven. He also didn’t walk a batter in those eight innings.
It certainly looks like Volquez is on the fast track back to the Reds after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In his last start for Lynchburg, Volquez retired the first 11 batters he faced and was reportedly hitting 97 mph on the radar gun.
Reds GM Walt Jocketty has said that he believes Volquez will probably make four more starts in the minors and then will return to the Reds. If you do the math, giving him an extra day off here and there in Louisville to recuperate, Volquez could be back to the Reds by July 7.
If the Reds were to get Volquez back on July 7, it would essentially be like landing an All-Star pitcher from free agency just as the second half of the season starts.
Originally when Volquez injured his arm last June, it was thought that he could miss the entire 2010 season or would at least be out until late August or September.
When he returns to the Reds, Volquez will likely start out in the bullpen so he is not rushed right back into the rotation. Since the Reds bullpen, except for Arthurmatic Rhodes, has been terrible this year having Volquez start out in the bullpen may also be a way for the Reds to kill two birds with one stone; at least for a little while anyway.
Now let’s just say for the sake of pure fantasy that Aroldis Chapman dominates in Triple-A for the next month and a half and got a call up to the Reds. Imagine a second half with a Reds rotation that consists of Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake and Aroldis Chapman.
I like the looks of that rotation. A lot.
“But where’s Aaron Harang?” you ask? Who cares? The big guy has a 5-6 record to go along with a 5.44 ERA.
Put him in the bullpen. He couldn’t be worse than what the Reds have in there right now anyway. Maybe try to trade him for just about anything you can get. The point is, if Volquez can return to his 2008 form and Aroldis Chapman can find his stuff and get promoted, the Reds won’t need Harang in the rotation anymore.
Ok so you still have to find a place for Homer Bailey too. Why not start grooming him to be the closer of the future? He hasn’t found success as a starter yet, he’s still very young and he has the stuff to be lights-out for an inning or two just like a closer. Plus, Francisco Cordero isn’t getting any younger. Maybe the Reds should start grooming Homer for the closer position by putting him into the setup man role that Nick Masset clearly doesn’t want or can’t handle.
That gives you a bullpen of Harang, Rhodes, Bailey and Coco. I’m starting to get chills just thinking about it.
Of course for now all this talk of Volquez and Chapman is just speculation but July can’t get here soon enough.