I hadn’t written about this subject, because I really wanted the whole issue to go away. I should have known better than to be optimistic about that. Here’s our friend Dave Schoenfield from ESPN:
Manager Dusty Baker — and the players — think Aroldis Chapman should remain the team’s closer; general manager Walt Jocketty, with the support of pitching coach Bryan Price, is telling Baker that Chapman will be in the rotation. Whether Baker likes it or not.
There are a multitude of issues in this controversy. It’s a symbolic example of today’s game, where the GM constructs the roster and even tells the manager how to use it. It brings up the argument over the value of a closer. And lurking below those two, what’s best for Chapman? We’ve seen other relievers successfully transition into the rotation — C.J. Wilson and Chris Sale to name two — but last year we also saw Daniel Bard implode and Neftali Feliz blow out his elbow.
But this situation has a pretty obvious answer:
1. Baker is wrong.
2. Jocketty is right.
Even better is Schoenfield’s conclusion:
Baker may not like the move now, but something tells me he’ll be OK with it once Chapman is 10-4 in late June with a 2.87 ERA, is leading the NL in strikeouts and makes the All-Star team.
Love that optimism.
I could go into the many reasons why I agree with Schoenfield here; a better idea would be for you to read Dave’s post on the matter. It’s spot-on, in every way. Better yet, go read Redleg Nation‘s previous posts about Aroldis. At least that will keep me from repeating myself in this space.
Meanwhile, while everyone (including Dusty) is salivating over Chapman’s perceived value as a closer, chew on this little morsel. Chapman’s percentage of recorded saves as a Red: 83%. Francisco Cordero’s save percentage as a Red: 86%. Aroldis just isn’t that much more valuable than other people who can close out games.
As a starter, however, Chapman has a chance to be elite. I just can’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to see if he can handle rotation duties. The upside is enormous. The downside is negligible.
Stay the course, Walt Jocketty. You’re doing the right thing here.