We're not even a full week into spring training games yet and already there are a few candidates who have fallen significantly behind. I know it's too early to make judgments and/or cuts, but a few borderline guys are going to have to step it up and quickly or get lost in the dust.
Let's look at a few:
- Mike Lincoln-not sure why he's being given an opportunity to win the #5 starter slot in the first place, but hey, whatever they think might help the team. Well, he got lit like a Christmas tree in his first outing. It will only lead people to manifest the thought that not only should he not be the #5 starter, but he shouldn't even make the 25-man roster. He has a LOT of catching up to do already.
- Wladimir Balentien-yeah, he's 1-for-2 but with Jonny Gomes signing last week, that is going to seriously cut his playing time and may ultimately lead to his release. He is out of options and while he has tons of potential, the Reds may not be able to keep him around. He's going to have to be really good to keep his spot.
- Paul Janish-while he's already lost his starting gig, he's going to have to prove he can still hit a little to keep his big club spot. We all know he can field it, but would the Reds keep him just for a glove? Some aren't so sure. While I like Paul, if you've read any of my earlier stuff, you know I don't think much of his bat. I don't think the Reds to either. The Reds have played three games in spring so far, and Janish has appeared in just one, and only has one at bat.
- Kip Wells/Justin Lehr-neither have much of a shot to make the big club, but they have a chance to make an impression. Lehr had a nice stretch run in September, but with so many quality young arms, he is going to have to be near perfect to make the team...and he gave up two runs in his first outing. Wells has gotten just one inning. It was perfect, but he's going to also have to make a habit of that in order to even get a sniff. And even at that, it's a long shot.
- Chris Burke-out with a broken finger, Burke needs to get healthy quickly in order to make an impression. With Miguel Cairo already starting off hot, it's only going to add to the pressure Burke will face once he returns.
- Aaron Miles-same goes for him. With the absolute mess in left field and the infield candidates, Miles has to be able to show something to the Reds' brass to justify trading Willy Taveras. OK that was a joke. Forgive me. Still, Miles needs to get healthy and show what he can do to beat out Cairo, Janish, Balentien, etc for a utility position.
- Carlos Fisher-appeared in 49 games last year with a 4.47 ERA. Has a nice arm with a nice repertoire. But, there's a lot of bullpen competition and while he's off to a decent start, he's going to have to be lights out to retain his spot from last year.