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Possible Moves Could Lead to Young Rotation

Reports from the last few days are that Cincinnati Reds Starting Pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang, the top two pitchers in the Reds starting rotation, could be moved to opposite ends of America. Arroyo, who will make $11 million in 2010, had one of the greatest second halves in his career, as his last 12 starts lasted no shorter than seven innings and no more than three runs. Harang, who will make $12.5 million in 2010, was one of the best pitchers in the National League in 2006 and 2007 before he lost his touch, giving up a run more a game in 2008 and 2009.

Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti has been in contact with the Reds about acquiring Aaron Harang. The talks are in the early stages, but if it were to happen, the Reds would most likely have to send some money to L.A. along with Harang. The Reds are looking to acquire to players on the Dodgers roster, and I would expect one to be an infielder. The way this club went after Craig Counsell, which still doesn’t make any sense to me, you would have to guess that even the older players, Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal, could be involved. It would be nice to get two prospects that are just about big league ready, but the Reds need to watch out on acquiring more lefty’s, as the club is already loaded with them.

The New York Mets have also been in contact with the Reds, as General Managers Walt Jocketty and Omar Minaya are in “serious talks” about a trade involving Bronson Arroyo. Just like with the Dodgers, don’t expect this trade to happen quickly as there are multiple players involved-more Reds than Mets-along with the Mets having “a player under contract that needs to be moved in order for the deal to be expanded.” The way this sounds, with more Reds than Mets players, a fire sale could come soon. But I didn’t expect one until at the earliest, after the 2010 season depending on where the Reds finish. Who the Reds may acquire is also a big question mark, as Arroyo has been the Reds most durable starter since his arrival, continuing his streak of throwing at least 200 innings which has reached five years.

Depending on whether or not these trades go through, and who may be involved, losing these two starters would leave the Reds with a young and rather raw rotation. Homer Bailey, the young phenom who showed flashes of brilliance and domination toward the end of last season, and Johnny Cueto, the young Dominican with strikeout king potential would be the front runners to start Opening Day.

Edinson Volquez, the Reds lone All-Star in 2008, won’t be back until the earliest September. He is coming off Tommy John Surgery, and he will need a year, 2011, to get back into the groove of pitching every fifth day. Reds fans should not expect the ’08 Volquez back until the earliest, 2012. If the trades do go through, the Reds will need young, inexperienced guys to step in and win games. Expect 2008 long man Micah Owings, Justin “King” Lehr, Daryl Thompson, Matt Maloney and 2009 first round draft pick Mike Leake to all compete for a rotation spot come spring.

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