According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it appears the final two candidates for the fifth starter job are Mike Leake and Travis Wood. With Aroldis Chapman out with a back issue, Micah Owings never really being a candidate, and Matt Maloney shown to the bullpen, the job is either Leake's or Wood's.
How do I feel about that? Well, I guess I'm cool with either. I'd like a left in the rotation, but if Mike Leake is ready to go, I'm cool with that as well. The thing that does concern me most about Leake is he's never pitched in a professional game. But, that hasn't slowed him down so far and he's had a very nice spring.
It does beg the question as to what they do with Chapman if Leake should happen to hold his own and never warrant being sent down? Eventually Chapman is going to be ready. Until his little back issue this week, he appeared the front-runner for the fifth spot. If he's ready by May 1 at the latest, and Leake is doing his job, what do they do with Chapman? They're not going to cut/release/trade Arroyo or Harang, and they're not going to send Cueto down unless he just gets lit which is unlikely. And Homer Bailey is out of options and has arguably been their best pitcher this spring.
It's very nice to have quality arms though. That is definitely one thing the organization has not had the luxury of lately. How many times did we plead for someone to step up? How many times did we have to endure Jimmy Anderson/Steve Parris/Jimmy Haynes/etc. and wonder if the Reds were ever going to have a decent starting rotation? Well, I believe we have that and then some. Even if/when Harang and Arroyo depart, there will still be arms for the Reds. Next year looks even better in my estimation with Cueto, Bailey, Chapman, Volquez, and possibly Wood. I'd take my chances with that.
But, for now, I think we're good with the rotation it appears will start the season in Cincinnati. Whether it's Leake or Wood, I think they'll be just fine.