Mike Lincoln is not a starting pitcher. Did you hear (er...read) me?
The closest Lincoln should come to starting a game is as a long reliever. He hasn't started a game since 2000.
He came up to the big leagues in 1999 with the Minnesota Twins. He started 15 games in '99 and had a 3-10 record with a 6.84 ERA.
The next year he started four games and was 0-3 with a 10.89 ERA. Those numbers are troubling, baseball fans. To send a man on the hill thinking you have to score 11 runs to win is not in anybody's playbook.
A better question would be, "What did Mike Lincoln do in 2009 to warrant another visit to spring training?"
He appeared in 19 games with the Reds last season, and in only six of them did he not surrender a hit. He was 1-1 with an 8.22 ERA and an ERA+ of 52.
Does that mean he is the worst pitcher in the league? I didn't say that, but feel free to chime in if you wish.
The Reds have decent potential in the five hole with Mike Leake, Matt Maloney and even the rookie-to-be Aroldis Chapman. I would even like to see Justin Lehr get a crack at it.
Lincoln pitched yesterday and will again on Monday. What the hell? The man is not a starting pitcher of MLB caliber.
This all leads me to the crux of the fifth starter. Since we don't have a set, capable pitcher that we can call the No. 5, let us take a good look at Chapman. He isn't a 15-year old Joe Nuxhall.
He is a grown man that can throw a baseball accurately at 100 mph. Allow me to say that once more with emphasis. 100 mph.
Some think that no matter how good he is in camp, he needs to go down on the farm and get seasoned. Again, he is a grown man, not a New York Strip.
I say if he is better than the other candidates, give him the doggone ball. Sink or swim. If he sinks too badly, we can send him down to Louisville.
Anyway, do what you will with Chapman, but please, in the name of everything you hold dear, forget about Mike Lincoln. Not just as a starter, period.
This article also appears in A Sports Moment