If there was a dark area for our 2016 Cincinnati Reds, we can all agree it was the pitching staff. The Reds finished 28th in the league in team ERA with a 4.91, 25th in starter ERA with 4.79, and 29th in reliever ERA with a 5.09 ERA. Rather than trying to fix the question marks, let’s start with what we know.

  • Names like Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, and Drew Storen will anchor the bullpen.
  • Anthony Desclafani, Dan Straily, and Brandon Finnegan are all likely to make up 3/5 of the rotation and likely Homer Bailey as well if healthy. Which leaves an open spot for a possible Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Amir Garrett?
  • Names like Jumbo Diaz, Tony Cingrani, Blake Wood, Tim Adleman and a few more seem to be filling out the rest of the bullpen.

Key Additions

Drew Storen. The slinger from Indiana was signed to a 1 year-3M dollar deal a week ago. This is an intriguing signing because of his past success. He’s had 2 seasons of over 25 saves and had 43 saves in 2011. Last season was rough as he compiled a 5+ ERA with Toronto, but after being traded to Seattle he finished there with a 3.44 ERA. If he can show old flashes of himself and pair up with Lorenzen and Iglesias, the backend of the bullpen will show signs of major improvement.

Key Departures

None worthy of mentioning. If your name isn’t Michael or Raisel, good riddance.

Possible links

Any capable reliever on the market has been linked to the Reds. Most notably Greg Holland. As MLBTR writes, Holland is seeking a 2 year deal with a potential opt out in year 2. He will most likely get his wish commanded, considering before 2015 where he had elbow issues, he had a combined 1.86 ERA. A few more intriguing names are Sergio Romo, Joe Blanton, and one that I would love to see is Neftali Feliz.

Reasons for hope

The Reds aren’t looking to contend in 2017. I know, upsetting. There are however a few names that we need to keep an eye on moving forward that could potentially make an impact as early as next season.

  • Rookie Davis. Acquired from the Yankees in the 2015 Aroldis Chapman trade. He’s a RHP that had a respectful 2.92 ERA in AA but struggled mightily in his limited time in AAA.
  • Sal Romano. A name heard in Reds fans ears for a long time, he has showed some promise in his time in the minors and seems to be destined for a shot in the near future.
  • Amir Garrett. Rated the #2 prospect in the organization. The numbers speak for themselves. They see this guy as a top of the rotation starter. This guy is a name that you need to keep an eye on for many seasons to come.
  • Robert Stephenson. Reds fans have heard and heard and heard this guy’s name. He finally got his feet wet last season and finished with a 6.08 ERA. However in limited time we did see a lot of things to like from him. He will undoubtedly be apart of the plans in 2017.
  • Cody Reed. To be blatantly honest his time in the bigs was awful. Awful. Just very rough for the kid. However he is a tall lefty with a great fastball and a hard slider. Still seen as a potential stud, he should see himself on the big league roster again in no time.

Questions left to be answered

  • Who does the 9th inning belong to?
  • Who makes up the possible remaining 1-2 spots in the rotation?
  • What’s left to do in Free Agency?
  • How early can we expect to see Amir Garrett, Rookie Davis, etc.?

Prediction for pitching staff in 2017.

Starter, reliever ERA both get lowered drastically and the Reds make one more splash in FA to finish up their bullpen.

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