Adding Raisel Iglesias to Rotation a Bold Move by Cincinnati Reds


Just yesterday, I lamented what I perceived to be the Cincinnati Reds‘ lack of creativity and boldness by assigning rotation spots to veterans Paul Maholm and Jason Marquis while leaving Cuban talent Raisel Iglesias to twist in the wind.  Instead, the Reds today announced that they have made the definite and, yes, bold decision to relegate Maholm to a fight for bullpen duties and insert Iglesias into their Opening Day starting rotation.

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This move is both exciting and scary for a Reds team hoping to make it back to the post-season after injuries and poor play doomed what began as a promising 2014.

Moving Iglesias into the rotation is exciting, maybe even a little breathtaking, at this point because the majority of Reds fans have never seen him pitch and probably have visions of fellow countryman Aroldis Chapman dancing through their heads.   That’s not a valid comparison at all, though, because, while Chapman is pure electricity on the mound, Iglesias is more of a finesse pitcher, although he tends to give up his share of walks.

This spring, Iglesias has seven strikeouts and three walks in 7.2 scoreless innings worked.

The move is scary for much the same reason that it’s exciting: we don’t much about Iglesias, yet he is being handed the keys to the bus one out of every five days for a supposed contender in the tough National League Central division.  Iglesias will be 25 years old on Opening Day and hasn’t thrown one pitch in the minors or the majors aside from those Spring Training innings this month.  He hasn’t thrown much at all, in fact, since 2012 when he pitched with Isla de la Juventud.

Scary stuff.

And yet, the Reds liked their scouting reports enough to give Iglesias $27 million last summer, and they came courtesy of the same crew who helped figure out that Chapman was worth all the hype five years ago.  With several other teams involved in the bidding for both players, you have to think that Iglesias has the talent and make-up to eventually make up for the loss of, say Alfred Simon, over the winter.

If he can close that gap out of the gap, the Reds might have a shot at contention.  If he stumbles, and the team does likewise, there will be a lot of room for second-guessing.

Either way, it’s a bold move that should make fans just a wee bit more excited — and maybe scared — for Opening Day 2015.


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