With just over one week till the 2013 Major League Baseball season begins, the Cincinnati Reds might have a few more question marks than many would have anticipated at this point.
First of all, the most obvious of dilemmas comes in the form of Aroldis Chapman. Should the flame throwing Cuban be left in his role as the team’s closer, or should he be given a shot at the team’s starting rotation?
While recent reports indicated Chapman will in fact remain the closer, the Reds have remained mum on his ultimate role this season. Because of this, in the words C. Trent Rosencrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Friday’s outing will be monitored with a very close lens.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Spring Training is allowing every player to get some work while avoiding injuries. Unfortunately for the Reds, they could be in trouble when looking at the health of prized acquisition Shin-Soo Choo.
Choo has missed five consecutive games with back spasms, and with Opening Day right around the corner, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that the starting centerfielder could miss a few regular season games.
Coming into spring training this year, perhaps the biggest position battle appeared to be the final few bullpen spots. Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, and Sam LeCure are all but locks heading into the 2013 season. If Chapman is designated the closer, he can be placed in that category as well.
This means Jose Arredondo, J.J. Hoover, Logan Ondrusek, Manny Parra, and Alfredo Simon are all viable candidates battling for three spots.
J.J. Hoover has arguably been the best reliever outside of only Jonathan Broxton, the latter of which has yet to surrender a run all spring. Hoover has an impressive 14 strikeouts over just eight innings pitched, but because of his roster options, his season might begin in Triple-A Louisville.
It’s getting down to crunch time for the Cincinnati Reds. One can only assume that these last few days before the season will shed light on the unanswered questions surrounding a team with plenty of expectations.
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