That leaves one spot open in the rotation, and the competition is coming down to Josh Fogg and Matt Belisle. Since Belisle still has minor-league options available, and also rates as a better bullpen hurler than Fogg, Fogg appears the strong favorite to nail down the final spot. Many observers believe Belisle would have a better future as a reliever than a starter anyway, since his fastball doesn't have enough movement to keep getting by batters the second or third time around the order.
You may have noticed that super-prospect Homer Bailey is not part of this discussion. That's because Bailey is no longer part of the Reds' discussion for the season-opening rotation. Bailey is guaranteed to open the season in Triple A after a Homer pile of problems coalesced in Spring Training, resulting in poor numbers:
- Mechanical problems with his plant foot
- Attitude problems (resistance to coaching)
- The possibility that he is tipping pitches
Bailey is only 21 and has a world of talent. If he works on his issues at Triple A, he will still be a very good pitcher for the Reds (or someone), and likely in 2008. But for now, he's fallen behind Cueto and Volquez in the Reds' pecking (and pitching) order.