IT WAS A LONG SHOT in the first place that veteran/journeyman left handed pitcher Paul Maholm would push his way onto the Cincinnati Reds 25-man Opening Day roster.
Basically, his competition was one man, Jason Marquis, another veteran/journeyman pitcher. The only real difference is that Marquis is right handed.
But Marquis had a leg up on Maholm because Marquis has a history with Reds general manager Walt Jockety. Marquis pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals when Jocketty was GM.
SO IT WAS NO shocking surprise when Maholm was released this week and Marquis was named to be part of the rotation, even though Maholm’s numbers this spring were a bit better and that without Maholm the Reds have no lefthanders in the rotation.
As of now, the all right handed rotation is Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Anthony DeSclafani and Jason Marquis.
Bailey, of course, is behind schedule and won’t make his first turn when the season begins, but the plan is for him to miss only one start. His first turn will be taken either by right hander Michael Lorenzen or right hander Raisel Iglesias.
And when Bailey returns, the guy who starts in his place goes to the bullpen.
WHILE IT WASN’T in his contract that the Reds would release him if he wasn’t going to make the team and send him to the minors, and Maholm didn’t ask for his release, the Reds did him a favor by releasing him.
If another team needs a starter at this late date, Maholm showed this spring that he can help somebody. In five appearances over 12 innings, Maholm posted a 2.19 earned run average, giving up only three runs and seven hits. The opposition batted .179.
Marquis started four games and is 3-1 with a 3.46 earned run average. He gave up 10 runs and 26 hits in 26 innings and opponents batted .223.
The thinking in the Reds camp was that Marquis showed better stuff than Maholm. And with left handers Tony Cingrani, Manny Parra and Aroldis Chapman already in the bullpen Maholm didn’t fit there.
UNDER BASEBALL’S basic agreement, the Reds had until today to advise Maholm that he would be on the Opening Day roster, meaning he would have received $1.5 million in salary and a $500,000 retention bonus.
The rest of the moves the Reds made Monday were as expected. They optioned RHP Pedro Villareal to Class AAA Louisville and re-assigned to minor-league camp RHP Nick Adcock, INF Ivan DeJesus Jr., INF Irving Falu and C Kyle Skipworth.
The Reds plan to keep five extra players — Skip Schumaker, Bryan Pena, Kristopher Negron and Brennan Boesch for sure, and probably outfielder Jason Bourgeois.
There will be seven pitchers in the bullpen and there are eight candidates left: Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure, Manny Parra, Jumbo Diaz, Burke Badenhop, J.J. Hoover, Michael Lorenzon and Raisel Iglesias.
Hoover is probably the odd man out.
THERE WILL BE a second book-signing for my book, ‘The Real McCoy,’ tonight from 7 to 9 at Books & Company at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek/Kettering.