2013 Reds / Blogging / Spring Training

The Aroldis Chapman Project – Part One

Imagine you grew up in poverty, scraping and scratching in the playground dirt to make something of yourself. Imagine further that you’re a prisoner of the local authorities, encumbered by anger and the callowness of your youth; blessed with unnatural talent, yet unable to get out of your own way. Let your imagination fly and see yourself winning the lottery, everything you ever dreamed of suddenly within the grasp of your hands, yet all of it coming at great personal cost. Add to that the loneliness that is the special province of the outsider, set apart by language, with no one to truly confide in, certainly no one to trust—at least not in that way a young man so far away from home needs.

Now, flip the script and imagine you are the guardian of this young, potentially fragile individual; every decision you make having consequences for not only your young charge, but for yourself and your business, with everyone watching, waiting to pass judgment not only on him, but you as well.

That’s where the Reds are right now with Aroldis Chapman, the magnificently talented, yet wildly complicated and almost unknowable young man. Is it smart to turn this meteor flashing across our red sky into a starting pitcher? Every replacement level GM in the moondeck with a Big Red Smokey in one hand and a BudLight in the other has an opinion about how to go about it OR whether to do it at all. What few seem to be talking about much is the man himself and what it will take off the field to protect and fuel the player on it.  The sketchy men in the shadows, the mysterious woman in the hotel room in Pittsburgh, the out-of-nowhere stardom—Chapman’s story unspools like some foreign film version of The Natural. But, don’t be fooled. There’s much more grit here, potentially much more darkness, as Craig Fehrman’s piece over at Cincinnati Magazine so hauntingly tells us:

“Under the Obama administration it has become comparatively easier to send money and care packages to Cuba. For all anybody knows Chapman may be taking great care of his family, but some in Miami find it peculiar that he hasn’t brought them over—especially his girlfriend and the now-3-year-old daughter he still hasn’t met. “That’s when I knew it wasn’t the fairy tale story,” says Joe Kehoskie, a Florida-based sports agent who’s worked with Cuban players for more than a decade. “The two people he cared about the most are still sitting in communist Cuba.”

More important than the decision to go 130, 150 or 160 innings, or how the Reds go about developing his other pitches, may very well be the how the Reds guide and care for Aroldis Chapman outside the lines, away from the game.

But little of this will play out where we can see it. Even the launch codes that will transition the Cuban Missile from stone cold closer to dominant starter are being guarded with only slightly less secrecy than the real ones.

Two obvious questions hang over the discussion: (a) SHOULD they do it; and (b) HOW will it be accomplished? The former is a firestorm of debate around Baseball. The latter? Not nearly as much. Yet.

I’ll go out on a fairly sturdy limb and suggest that most of Redleg Nation is on board with the decision by Jocketty, Price, et al. Yet, there is a vocal minority that thinks this is a terrible idea with repercussions that will reverberate throughout the season. I chalk up much of this angst to a natural human inability to deal with change—a If It’s Not Broke, Don’t Fix It mentality.

I had an all too predictable debate the other day with a guy who insisted that Chapman the Closer was infinitely more important to the Reds than Chapman the Starter. He, as well as a local scribe (who once covered the Reds in Sarasota), were unmoved by 100 years of historical outcomes that show that teams don’t need a lights out closer, instead clinging to the belief that Chapman’s worth as Closer and Entertainer, who puts fannies in seats, ratcheting up the crowd—ala Charlie Sheen’s fictional “Wild Thing” character—is worth more than he will ever be in the rotation:

“You never played the game and don’t understand it. Esoteric giant piles of stat sheets are the latest fad in sports … They allow armchair “managers” like you, who have no clue what the game feels like on the field between the lines, to develop your own little “pet” theories that turn into delusions of righteousness, while ignoring the other, equal important aspect; intangibles. I’ve yet to see any of your stats quantify motivation, confidence, effort, or momentum, and I dare say because, one, you have no real understanding of them, and two, they’re not quantifiable except by the best computer of all, the human brain. … Perhaps someday you’ll wake up and realize your stat sheet proofs of your heavily blog marketed theorems are just paper tigers waiting to line the cage floors of the real life tigers out there, who include in their victory arsenal things not found on geeky spreadsheets.”

Well, alright then.

Classic stuff. Like a door-to-door salesman summarily kicked off the front porch without so much as a word, the mere mention of anything with even a whiff of numbers beyond the usual AVG or RBI variety routinely gets a screen door to the face. Never mind that what I was offering wasn’t advanced metrics, but historical outcomes of games, mere percentages illustrating that taking the mound with even the slimmest of leads in the ninth results in overwhelming success, whether the guy on the mound is named Mariano Rivera or Virgil Trucks. I can’t imagine what war would have broken out had I brought up the subject of … well, WAR.

Sorry, no sale, Propeller Head.

Keep in mind though, that it’s not merely Joe Fan who has trouble with any deviation from the norm, but also the “experts.” On MLB’s 30 Clubs in 30 Days, Al Leiter and Larry Bowa both made a case for keeping Chapman where he is, with Leiter being particularly adamant:

Why ruin a good thing? I don’t see it. I see a guy who empties the tank. He throws 10, 12, 14 pitches. 102 mph … and a very occasional slider.  This isn’t somebody—now again—I don’t know, I haven’t seen him pitch in the minor leagues. All I know is what I see here. I see gas, gas, gas, occasional slider. I don’t know if he’s got a third pitch. Automatically, Larry, it’s impossible physically, to be able to go 34 starts and still maintain the same stuff. You’re not going to do it. So velocity’s gonna drop a little bit, he’s got a slider at times … but how does that translate into flipping the lineup 3 times. I just don’t understand. Especially when they had a rotation of 4 guys with 200 innings.”

Bowa: “Well, I’m not messin’ with that bullpen. This guy to me is a lights out closer. He comes in in the ninth inning—game is over  …. Say he does start, you know there’s gonna be an innings count on him. So, by June or July, they’re gonna have to get him out of there and put him back in the bullpen … the other problem is, when they know a guy like this is starting, as a manager … the first thing you’re gonna do is tell your players is ‘make this guy throw strikes.’  … Let’s work him a little bit. Who’s to say his pitch count is not gonna get up to 100 in 3 or 4 innings. I would not mess with this guy. He’s one of the best closers in baseball. LEAVE IT THE WAY IT IS.”

In Leiter and Bowa, you have a classic case of status quo baseball myopia. Leiter admits he hasn’t seen Chapman pitch in the minors, doesn’t know his history as a starter in Spring Training, but nevertheless doubts the 25 year old Chapman’s ability to develop other pitches and the durability of his arm. He views the entire move as unnecessary because he sees a repeat of 200 innings for Cueto & Co. a mere fait accompli.

I think assuming the starting staff will be as durable as last year is ludicrous. Bowa comes across as just another old baseball guy who sees the role of a closer as set in stone and the bailiwick of a select few warrior-athletes. Agents like Scott Boras feast on this mentality. They and their clients routinely reap windfalls from GMs because of this enduring myth.

So, is my “friend” right?  Am I the victim of pet theories and armchair delusions? Are we fools to question the knowledge those who played the game? Billy Beane, discussing why managers don’t bring their best pitchers to high leverage situations, preferring to hold them back for the 9th, offered the following reason why baseball people often get it all so wrong:

“I’ll tell you why. It’s the same reason more football coaches don’t go for it on fourth-and-1. Because when it doesn’t work, 30 of you guys come storming in wondering why the manager didn’t go to the closer. It’s turned into a situation where a lot of emotion is tied to that decision, just as a lot of emotion is tied to the fourth-down decision. Even if you know the odds, it’s more comfortable being wrong when you go to the closer or the punter.”

Could that be Dusty Baker’s mindset?

There are, of course, no guarantees. Chapman could get hurt. But he could get hurt where he is. People who think fewer innings protects his arm should talk to Ryan Madson and Nick Masset. Have people forgotten how the Reds got Jose Arredondo so cheap? Oh yeah, it was because of this.

For stretches, Chapman has experienced control issues. But, wildness is not a deal breaker. Randy Johnson was wild. The Mariners and later the Diamondbacks would thank the Expos for giving up on him. For years, a guy named Koufax couldn’t find home plate with two hands and a map:

Still, despite the arsenal of pitches, he did little to distinguish himself as anything other than a guy who could throw a ball right through a catcher. By the end of his sixth season, he was 36-40 and had walked 405 batters in 691 2/3 innings.

The turning point came in 1961. According to the team’s backup catcher, Norm Sherry, Sandy’s major league career changed during a routine ride on the team bus to a spring training exhibition game. Sherry suggested that Koufax concentrate more on simply throwing the ball over the plate rather than putting so much power behind his pitches. He also recommended that he be more varied and selective with his pitches.

“Sandy, you could solve your control problems if you’d just try to throw the ball easier,” Sherry told Koufax. “Just get it over the plate. You’ve still got enough swift on it to get the hitters out.”

“In the past I’d go out there and (try to throw every pitch) harder than the last one,” Koufax once told a reporter. “(But) from then on I tried to throw strikes and make them hit the ball. The whole difference was control. Not just controlling the ball, but controlling myself too.”

And so, in his seventh season, a star was born. His delivery had taken on an easier rhythm and he relied more on that devastating curve that was once described as being like a chair whose legs suddenly collapse out from under it. He went 18-13 with a 3.52 ERA, walking 96 in 255 2/3 innings. He also broke Christy Mathewson’s strikeout record that had stood for 58 years.

Could Aroldis make a similar adjustment with Bryan Price guiding him? Before he quit throwing his slider and began relying almost exclusively on his heater, his second pitch was devastating. Mr. 106 has also shown periods of superior control, particularly in ST last year (18 SO, 2 BB) as well as the first few weeks of the season, where he had nearly identical numbers. What this tells me is that Aroldis most certainly can get the ball over the dish on a consistent basis. Taking a few MPH off the fastball as a starter is only going to make controlling his fastball a simpler prospect. Rather than throwing every pitch at max velocity, he can throw mid-90s knowing that in tough situations that third time through the lineup, he’ll have that 100 mph fastball to selectively reach back for. And with Price working with him between starts, any problems he’ll have can be dealt will in a way that never could have been done with him in the bullpen.  Plus, he can continue to develop his off-speed pitches between starts, continuing to grow as a player, rather than be relegated to a carnival sideshow, coming out to screaming fans and smokestack flames, putting the finishing touches on 2 and 3 run leads.

The Reds must try this. Then, stick with it. The youngster is going to struggle. So, give him a long leash, let the non-believers howl, and the young man learn.

In Part Two, I’ll offer my thoughts about how I think the Reds may go about beginning to turn Chapman into one of the dominant starters in the game and what that might mean for October.

37 thoughts on “The Aroldis Chapman Project – Part One

  1. Is the switch automatic? No way. It is going to take time. Can it work? Sure. Will it work? Who knows. It is going to take time. His only experience starting was with the Cuban team before he defected (I haven’t heard any stats from that) and in AAA when he first came up (which was unsuccessful at that). Also, the competition he faced with Cuba and in AAA is nothing compared to the major leagues. He was the best pitcher in ST last season, yes. But, again, we are talking about ST competition, not major league.

    100+ mph ball sounds great, but that isn’t the end all cure all. The history of minor leagues are littered with people who supposedly could thrown 100+ mph but couldn’t do anything else (only “supposedly” since radar guns weren’t always around baseball). I need to see everything else. Can he hit? Can he field? Can he hold runners on? Can he hit the corners? You know, everything else closers don’t normally have to worry about.

    If I had a choice, I wouldn’t switch him. But, I would be interested in seeing what he can do, even if it meant about a month of starts in the regular season. Where, if he can do it, great; switch him. If he doesn’t work it out, then put him back in the pen.

  2. Problem solved. Just teach him how to kill animals with his bare hands and he should win the CY this year.

  3. I didn’t know I was a minority in wanting him to stay in the bullpen.

    I just think the Marshall, Broxton, and Chapman combo turns a game into six innings. That is something the Reds haven’t had in a while.

    Sure, let’s see how this works, but if he turns out like Neftali Feliz of 2012, I will sit back and watch the “I told you so” comments.

    Who knows, Chapman might already have five pitches in his arsenal.

    • I didn’t know I was a minority in wanting him to stay in the bullpen.

      I just think the Marshall, Broxton, and Chapman combo turns a game into six innings. That is something the Reds haven’t had in a while.

      Sure, let’s see how this works, but if he turns out like Neftali Feliz of 2012, I will sit back and watch the “I told you so” comments.

      Who knows, Chapman might already have five pitches in his arsenal.

      Remember, a vocal majority of the fans want Chapman to start. Similarly a vocal majority wanted Rolen benched in favor of Todd Frazier last year, but that didn’t happen even during the playoffs. Projecting what you want and projecting what is likely to happen can be completely different.

      I’m not expecting Chapman to turn out like Neftali Feliz, I’m expecting him to turn out like Stephen Strasburg (benched for the postseason, when the team needs him the most) or like Kris Medlen, who was converted to the Braves’ rotation midseason to start their Wild Card game. The Reds need to decide if they want a situation like Strasburg’s or Medlen’s by opening day. Frankly I don’t see how a situation like Strasburg’s helps the Reds – Dusty and the Reds probably recognize that also.

  4. I’m onboard with the Chapman transition, 100%. Just like last year.

    However, the intial article did touch on something that I do agree with: No matter how advance computers become, they can’t measure certain “intangibles”. Some players work well under pressure, some players don’t, call it “adrenaline” or whatever. Computers can’t measure individual players mental makeups.

    Case in point, Milton Bradley was a pretty good player in his prime, based on just stats, yet teams had to beg other teams to take him off their hands. Why? Intangibles, he was a “cancer” and hurt the team in more ways than he helped.

    Chapman has had some rough patches here and there, I hope having the extra time off and not having to always be prepared to pitch won’t lead to him getting in more trouble…Idle hands and all that.

  5. This is the stupidest damn debate in a long time. Larry Bowa, who managed Mitch Williams in Philly, somehow thinks that’s a good career path for Aroldis Chapman. Williams, of course, was an atroicious starter in the minors, before becoming an okay, if overrated reliever.

    The whole thing is active stupidity.

    • This is the stupidest damn debate in a long time.Larry Bowa, who managed Mitch Williams in Philly, somehow thinks that’s a good career path for Aroldis Chapman.Williams, of course, was an atroicious starter in the minors, before becoming an okay, if overrated reliever.

      The whole thing is active stupidity.

      Co-sign.

    • This is the stupidest damn debate in a long time.Larry Bowa, who managed Mitch Williams in Philly, somehow thinks that’s a good career path for Aroldis Chapman.Williams, of course, was an atroicious starter in the minors, before becoming an okay, if overrated reliever.

      The whole thing is active stupidity.

      Yep, it shouldn’t even BE a debate. I for one am fascinated and can’t wait to see how it goes.

  6. Great post! . . . I’m also looking forward to see if he will be able to sit around 94-96 and perhaps add, ala Verlander, a bit of velocity (when needed) in innings six and seven.

  7. Re: Bowa’s quote: “the other problem is, when they know a guy like this is starting, as a manager … the first thing you’re gonna do is tell your players is ‘make this guy throw strikes.’ … Let’s work him a little bit.”

    C’mon! Managers can’t do that.

  8. Dusty probably secretly thinks that Choo’s ability to get on base should be used in late game situations only too. “You seen his on base percentage? That’s the kind of stuff that wins a ball game late coming off the bench. That’s clutch. Big time.”

    • Dusty probably secretly thinks that Choo’s ability to get on base should be used in late game situations only too. “You seen his on base percentage? That’s the kind of stuff that wins a ball game late coming off the bench. That’s clutch. Big time.”

      @Matt WI: HA!

  9. Charlie Sheen’s Wild Thing moved from the bullpen to starting as well. Even Hollywood gets it.

  10. Hey, longtime lurker, first time commenter.

    It’s amazing the kinds of logical gymnastics that people will go through just to make a case for the status quo. And maybe if we were the Yankees/Dodgers/etc. with resources to spare we would have the luxury of taking Chapman’s known value as a closer and leaving his immense potential as a starter on the table. But, as we all know, we aren’t the Yankees, and part of what goes with that is needing to assume more risk in favor of pursuing the greatest value. If you don’t see that in Chapman’s case as a starter, you just aren’t looking at the right things.

    But, really, the actual risk of moving Chapman to the rotation is minimal. The quote from Al Leiter (sudden flashback and cringe) makes the case that having 4 starters who threw 200+ innings is a reason to leave him in the bullpen, when in reality it strengthens the case for making him a starter. For most teams, a starter like Chapman with #1 or #2 potential would also have the immense expectation of coming in and performing to that level right away, with no real alternatives should things go badly (a la Homer Bailey when he first came up). In Chapman’s case, he can come in as the #5 (!) starter, and in a worst case scenario have a league average starter in Mike Leake replace him as he transitions back to the bullpen. That situation is a rare luxury and the only real way the Reds lose is by not trying the transition in the first place.

  11. This was a great article about a month ago. I’m sorry Richard, but I think we are all Chapmaned out. Regardless of whether it was the point of the story or not, every post it seems became about Chapman. It’s exhausting.

  12. I’m tired of this discussion. I wouldn’t recommend getting too excited about Chapman’s conversion though, until Leake or another starter gets removed from consideration.

    It’s a long article or post but I await the next segment. This one doesn’t address the Reds’ depth (Leake and Cingrani available to start, questionable failed LA Dodgers closer available to close) or the issue of Chapman’s durability. Even if Chapman is dominant he’ll be shut down after ~150 inning, well before October. Well before the playoffs.

    As far as the caliber of closer, I believe it very important psychologically both to the fans and players. Francisco Cordero/Jonathan Broxton vs Aroldis Chapman/Craig Kimbrel provide completely different outlooks towards the end of the game and the team’s success the following day, which can’t be adequately recorded in WAR or save percentage.

    • Three words: TAKE YOUR MEDICINE.

      I did.

      Quit drinking the ‘Chapman for Cy Young Award’ cool-aid. The whole thing is a gamble, a question, an experiment, NOT a sure thing and NOT win-win situation.

      • Quit drinking the ‘Chapman for Cy Young Award’ cool-aid. The whole thing is a gamble, a question, an experiment, NOT a sure thing and NOT win-win situation.

        I agree with everything you just said, and have myself said each of those things before. I think you misread what most people in the other camp on this are saying.

      • I did.

        Quit drinking the ‘Chapman for Cy Young Award’ cool-aid.The whole thing is a gamble, a question, an experiment, NOT a sure thing and NOT win-win situation.

        I’m stunned, just stunned, to see you ascribe something (people here Chapman will win the Cy) that not a single person actually said, or almost surely actually believes.

        There is exactly a zero percent chance Chapman is winning the Cy Young award as a starter this year.

        • I’m stunned, just stunned, to see you ascribe something (people here Chapman will win the Cy) that not a single person actually said, or almost surely actually believes.

          There is exactly a zero percent chance Chapman is winning the Cy Young award as a starter this year.

          Converting Chapman into a Cy Young-caliber ace is the obvious long term goal, even though he wouldn’t be a candidate for the award in 2013. Comparing him to Randy Johnson or Sandy Koufax in this discussion is comparable to predicting that he can win a Cy Young Award.

          Converting him into a Cy Young candidate would be at least a two year process, a process that should revolve around (rather than be detrimental towards) plans for a 2013 World Series run.

  13. I want to comment on this, but I will wait for Part 2. How the Reds use Chapman is going to be an important part in 2013. They have a plan in place and will follow it. The plan, I am sure, has to be fluid however, for the ability to adapt to changing situations. Anyone who thinks the Chapman story for 2013 will turn into another Nats’ Strasburg saga is a complete fool. The situations are entirely different. And that is where I think the Reds plan will have Chapman pitching well into October. But, I will reserve my comments on HOW the Reds do it until after Chapman Part 2 airs. In my scenario that I think the Reds follow, Leake stays with the Reds and does not go to AAA.

  14. @WVRedlegs: I think ‘another Nats’ Strasburg saga’ is exactly what fans are calling for the Reds to set up, fans who are looking to April rather than the season as a whole. Complete fools? I would word it a little more politely. The situations aren’t all that different, the key point is that Strasburg and Chapman are very important young arms who their franchises will be extremely protective over, rather than reckless with.

    I’ll give my comment on how the Reds do it… again. Wait a few months and if there’s a need for another starter mimic Kris Medlen in the conversion process. I agree that the Reds will come up with a plan so Chapman can pitch in the playoffs, but I strongly doubt that it involves him starting in April. Fans should come to accept that possibility.

  15. @redsfanman:

    There aren’t too many things in life that are a sure thing.

    Just a few years ago Dusty Baker ruining arms – including Aaron Harang, Prior, Wood, and whoever else – by overworking them was a supposed certainty of life. A certainty of having Dusty Baker as manager. It’s a sure thing that he doesn’t want Aroldis Chapman added to that list.

  16. @RC: He did NOT misread what people are saying. He is a politician: purposefully make up a ridiculous belief that no one has to make yourself look smart.

    • @RC: He did NOT misread what people are saying.He is a politician: purposefully make up a ridiculous belief that no one has to make yourself look smart.

      The idea is more like taking a point to the extreme so people question the credibility of the basic premise. Yes, politicians do that. Broadcasters do that too.

      Chapman could be another ace – that is the primary reason why everyone wants to convert him. Call it what you want, doubling his inning totals… adding another ace… but the ultimate goal is that he becomes another Randy Johnson. Many people seem unwilling to recognize that it’s not guaranteed to go well.

  17. What I want to know is:

    Assume that you can tell the future and that Chapman will be a good, say, #2 quality starter. Then, where would Bowa, Leiter, Dusty Baker (when informed of this news) come down on whether he should be converted?

    Many baseball people would STILL want him in the bullpen, I bet.

  18. At the beginning of last year, I posted the similarities between Chapman and Koufax and how they both sacrificed a few MPH for greater control. Even though I began the post with “In the early 60′s” and “I think his name was Sandy” a few people thought I was referring to “Randy” Johnson as opposed to “Sandy” Koufax. Regardless, I’m glad the comparison between these two lefties is finally getting some attention because I think it is appropriate. Koufax could dial it up to well over 100, and only came into his own when he consistently backed it off to the upper 90′s. As long as Aroldis keeps maturing as a man, he will in my opinion, acheive almost mythical greatness for at least a few years. He looks like he is playing toss for Christsake. Wake up Redsfanman.

  19. Seems obvious that Aroldis should be given a shot as a starter…last year, he was fun to watch as a closer, but only one save better than Cordero in 2011, and Coco drove everyone crazy and was run out of town…Pretty basic baseball to understand an effective starter is more valuable than an effective closer…not to mention, much more challenging to find! Let’s look at the effective closers from the last, say, 20 years…Brantley, Shaw, Graves, Williamson, Weathers, Cordero…How many top-notch starters have we had? Aroldis would be much more valuable were he to be lights-out as a starter…

  20. I’m in that minority and have feelings very similar to those Al Leiter expressed. If the Reds really needed a SP and they weren’t gunning for a pennant this year, I wouldn’t have the reservations about converting him that I do. This debate is played out though. I think everyone here at Redleg Nation have made their positions clear.

    Despite my contrary opinion about Chapman, this is a fantastic article all around Richard. Very, very high quality work. It was a true joy to read and the work you put into it is apparent.

    The Reds are preparing Chapman as a starter and as a Reds fan, I absolutely hope that converting Chapman is a huge success. If it works, he is much more valuable in the rotation.

  21. @LWBlogger: That is exactly why he should have been converted to starter last year. Do you not think we’ll be gunning for a pennant next year as well? This team was being built for a sustained run at the top. To play for one year seems myoptic and contrary to that belief. Even when Madsen went down last year, they should have stuck by their guns and kept Chapman in the rotation.

    • @LWBlogger: That is exactly why he should have been converted to starter last year. Do you not think we’ll be gunning for a pennant next year as well? This team was being built for a sustained run at the top. To play for one year seems myoptic and contrary to that belief. Even when Madsen went down last year, they should have stuck by their guns and kept Chapman in the rotation.

      To continue this thought, @redsfanman: acuuses the fan base of only looking at April and May, while he has the foresight to look to September. I respond by saying you are ONLY looking at September, while we are looking at not only this September but the next two or three Septembers as well. If you only care about this year and this year year alone, then yes, I could see an arguement for leaving him in the bullpen. Otherwise, there is no arguement, he needs to start.

  22. @RiverCity Redleg: I fully agree he should have been converted last year. I also can see what you’re getting at about future years. I can’t say I agree but I certainly see where you’re coming from.

  23. @RiverCity Redleg: I keep citing Kris Medlen as an example. Use Chapman as a closer early on to help win games, then convert him to the rotation midseason if the need arises. That’s looking at the whole season. Converting him in April so he’d be shut down for the postseason, yes, I think that’s shortsighted, while the Kris Medlen plan provides the desired long term results… having him ready to start in 2014 while providing the Reds with a chance to win the 2013 World Series.

    @LWBlogger: Maybe Chapman should have been converted last year, but he wasn’t, and I think we should accept that. That doesn’t make this April the right time.

  24. @redsfanman: I would have no problem with that IF that were the plan and they converted him regardless if a need arises or not. The point being that they are preparing him to be a full time starter for the maximum amount of time possible.

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