John Lamb underwent disc surgery in December. It went unannounced for over a month until Bryan Price mentioned it this afternoon on MLB Network’s High Heat.
I was just informed Lamb had disc surgery on his back in December. https://t.co/P6p9TaUwhL
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) February 9, 2016
It’s certainly interesting that no one picked up on this news for such a long time. But, that’s not too important at this point. What is important is that it would seem that Lamb is behind schedule and may not be ready until after the season starts. If that is the case it really opens things up in spring training. Not that John Lamb was a lock for the rotation, but he was likely one of the favorites among the group that is behind right handers Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias.
With Lamb likely out of things to start the season, it looks like things are a bit more open up for right handers Michael Lorenzen and Jon Moscot to go along with left handers Brandon Finnegan and Jonathan Sanchez. From that list, with the need for three starters, you would imagine that the favorites going into the spring would be Lorenzen, Moscot and Finnegan. How things go in spring training could certainly change that and it could give some other guys a shot at breaking into things.
Top prospects Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed will be going into the spring hoping to compete for a spot, though the Reds probably want to avoid bringing either of them north out of the gate because of service time issues that it would cause. Perhaps the injury could open up things for guys like Keyvius Sampson, Tim Melville, Tim Adleman, Rookie Davis, Cody Reed or Robert Stephenson to jump into the rotation, perhaps even just to start the season until Lamb is ready.
The other option that could present itself is that none of those players break north with the Reds. With off-days there is a chance that the Reds won’t need a 5th starter until April 18th if they want to go that route and the weather cooperates. This could also perhaps lead to the signing of a veteran pitcher to come in and compete for a spot on the roster. The team hasn’t exactly sounded overly confident that it would do that in recent Reds Caravan interviews, and they would certainly have known about the surgery at the time, but I wouldn’t write it off just yet either.