2013 Reds / Chapmania

On the Aroldis Chapman rumors [Update: Not so fast…]

Rest assured, the Editors will have a response prepared, should this come to pass. At this point, however, all we have is a single report, without confirmation from anyone with access to the organization.

UPDATE: The reporters meeting with Dusty Baker today (Sheldon, Fay) were told that a decision has not been made, nor will there be any announcement. No other national or local reporter has independently confirmed Paul Daugherty’s report. Wonder who is leaking to Doc. Maybe someone with an agenda?

145 thoughts on “On the Aroldis Chapman rumors [Update: Not so fast…]

    • @Drew Mac: me, too !!! Daugherty had to get it from somewhere, though. Might be paying a “Dusty tax” before the season even starts.

  1. If this is true, keep in mind the possibility of starting the season in the bullpen and then transitioning to the rotation.

    There is nothing wrong if that’s the plan! Saving innings for the post season should be a priority!!!

    • @rfay00: I would be fine with that. However, I’m troubled by the report that he will be named (specifically) “the closer.” This would seemingly portend that he will not be transitioned to the rotation.

      • @Drew Mac: It just seems unbelievable that the team couldn’t have formulated an agreed-to plan in the offseason and stuck with it through spring training. Dusty was always saying it was going to be an “organizational” decision. Maybe what he meant was that not everybody in the organization was on board yet. Guess he had the final word. Gotta be uncomfortable for Price and Walt right about now. … And this is all supposing that the one report is right, but it’s looked like that to me for a week or two now …

        • @Brian Van Hook: I agree. Frontline, bonafide aces are very, very rare. Chapman has the potential to be one. It seems incomprehensible to me that Walt and the front office would not have put a foot down and dictated some sort of plan for Chapman to start. If the report that he will be named “closer” is correct, I will be flabbergasted.

          What else does he have to do to prove he (at least) deserves a shot at starting? . . . When he struggles (he has “struggled” this spring), he is still better than any other option the Reds have in the fifth spot. Saying that Chapman should be put in the closer’s spot could (and we may never know) be like saying that Babe Ruth should continue to pitch and not get his bat in the lineup on a daily basis.

        • @Brian Van Hook: Maybe this WAS the agreed upon plan that Jocketty and Castellini got behind, if Leake and all the other starting pitchers stayed healthy, and they didn’t publicize it during the offseason because they knew it’d be met with exactly the responses we see here:

          “Hopefully this is a joke”.
          “Not getting upset just yet”… (seeking confirmation) “before blasting what would be a terribly short-sighted decision”.

          I’ve been saying this would happen all winter, but nobody believed me. Don’t act so surprised though…

          rfay is right that this isn’t the end of hope for Chapman becoming a starter, it means that they’ll follow the Kris Medlen plan rather than the Stephen Strasburg plan or tandem starter plan.

    • @rfay00: I pointed that out in the Votto thread when the rumors went flying there. I don’t see anything wrong if that’s the plan either.

  2. I’m hoping this is just a joke from Doc trying to ruin one of my favorite days of the year. I rarely read Doc, and I only believe 40 % of what he says, so I still hold out hope that the organization is not making a shortsighted decision. And yes, I would be fine with Chapman starting the year in the pen, coming in to pitch 2 or 3 innings at a time in high leverage situations then transitioning to the rotation after the all-star break. Sadly, I don’t think that would be in Dusty’s plans.

  3. Regardless of how this turns out, it’s hard to imagine a worse way to handle the decision. Inconsistent public positions by the GM, Manager and Pitching Coach. Transparent public lobbying by the Manager. Leaks to reporters. Now they either really haven’t made a decision yet (and why not?) or they have and don’t want to announce it yet (again, why not?).

    One more thing. Is it really possible that no one in the Reds organization had asked Aroldis Chapman his opinion before a random Spanish-speaking reporter did so the other day? Dusty Baker treated it like a revelation. That means either (a) the Reds didn’t really care what Chapman thought, and that’s why they hadn’t asked him, (b) it was important to them, but they hadn’t gotten around to it yet (wow, that would just be shockingly terrible).

    If the Reds do move Chapman to the bullpen and use his recently stated preference as part of the rationale, that would be the height of awful management of a decision. First, they shouldn’t let it come down to the poorly-informed preferences of a player. And if they do, the thought that they would have gone through this circus for months – including allowing their pitching coach to come forward with a ‘secret plan’ for Chapman to start – to let it be decided by a last-minute translated declaration by the player, would be staggeringly incompetent.

    I put most of the blame for these shenanigans on Dusty Baker, but there’s plenty of fault to go around.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I agree on every single point. In what has been a great offseason (AC: After Choo), this is a huge turdburger a little over a week from opening day.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Regardless of how this turns out, it’s hard to imagine a worse way to handle communicate the decision.

      Just to be contrarian for a moment, why do they have to announce anything? I agree that their communication with the press, so far, has made it seem like they’re a disorganized circus behind the curtain.

      I think this has gotten a lot more attention in recent days because (1) there is no other story in camp. Even the final roster spots are mostly known decisions at this point and have been for a while. (2) The Reds told reporters that the decision would be “soon” and “this week”. So reporters are getting anxious. They probably have pieces written (or at least thoughts on what to write) for either scenario. They want some kind of news on this.

  4. Chapman’s opinion last year – ignored. Chapman’s opinion this year – gospel.

    Trade. Him. Now.

    • @RC: If they aren’t going to let him start, move him. Send him to Miami for as many prospects as he will fetch. As exciting as he is to watch, closers are terribly overrated in the aggregate.

  5. As I posted on another thread, my biggest fear is that we lose a really, really good GM because he lost an internal power struggle to a really, really average field manager.

    No matter where Chappy is, the Reds are going to be very good this year. I’m going to enjoy the ride!

    • @Kyle Farmer: Jocketty has his strengths and weaknesses, but he has overseen the assembly of this fantastic team. He’s been helped greatly by the ownership increasing the payroll, but still, in the trades he’s made and the ones he’s reportedly turned down, we arrive at this point with great starting pitching and solid position players across the board. Jocketty made the Latos trade. It’s hard to make a case that Jocketty hasn’t been a net strong positive for the Reds.

      I’ve always had the sense (pure speculation) that if it had been up to Jocketty, Baker wouldn’t still be the manager of the Reds. But apparently the ownership loves Dusty Baker and that counts.

      I can’t imagine the ownership intervening in this decision, though. I can see Jocketty just being wary of Baker’s reaction to an adverse decision (from his perspective) on Chapman. Baker would no doubt react poorly in public. He’d pout. He’d be passive-aggressive in his discussion of the closer role and games. I don’t think Walt could trust Baker to handle a Chapman-to-the-rotation decision well.

      All this, to cater to Dusty Baker’s out-dated, ill-conceived notions of the importance of an established closer. Not that Broxton isn’t also one.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Steve you are so right that the open wallets of the owners have made Jocketty’s job much easier. You’re also right that he’s made some really good moves with that money to create this team.

        If you’re also right that ownership didn’t intervene here and that this is all about Jocketty agreeing because he’s wary of Baker’s tantrum, then he still lost an internal power struggle. He just lost it last October rather than now. I can imagine a scenario where Jocketty agreed to the Baker extension on the terms that he would have to be able to work with him. If all these rumors are true and you’re right, then I can’t imagine him staying.

        I hope I’m wrong on this. I really do.

    • @Kyle Farmer: Is this an ‘internal power struggle’ that will force Walt Jocketty to resign? I sure don’t see that. It’s another step towards the World Series.

      I’ve always had the sense that Jocketty and Dusty work well together and get along – the credible writers say that – just fans like Jocketty and dislike Dusty and portray them as voices of good and evil, right vs wrong, to turn it into a competition that I don’t believe exists in real life.

      Dusty Baker met with the ownership group, Bob Castellini and his associates, the other day. I have a feeling that he got their support for this decision.

      • @redsfanman: You may be exactly right on this and I may be out to lunch. I do totally agree with your last sentence, though. Dusty did an end run around the GM to the ownership and pulled them over to his side, which is exactly why I am afraid we’re seeing the last days of Jocketty as our GM. Again, I will be happy to be totally wrong!

        • @Kyle Farmer: Was Dusty meeting with the ownership group him doing an ‘end run around the GM’? I don’t think so, I just assumed that was something common before the season starts – if I owned a team I’d be interested in what the manager thought about the season, and what his plans were. I was kinda under the impression that Jocketty was there, but who knows. The current ownership group is responsible for both of their current contracts, and likes both of them.

          I think the ownership has Walt Jocketty to do the GM’s job and Dusty to fill the role of a field manager. I think they each respect the other’s ability to fill the appropriate role. If they couldn’t agree on who who was responsible for what by now I doubt they’d still be working together.

          Remember, Walt Jocketty’s team is a top candidate to win the World Series. Will he really be driven away from that to start over again with a rebuilding team? I doubt it.

        • @Kyle Farmer:
          I think you’re on target, Kyle. I believe anyone else is out to lunch. Baker took his lack of extension midseason to the papers. He took this to the papers. Walt was the GM in both situations. If I was Walt, I would be highly ticked off. I just worked to make the roster Dusty-proof. And, now back to this?

          Walt and the previous 2 GM’s did more for the success of this team than Baker ever has. Baker is nothing more than the “utility fielder” of managers. Everyone wants one, so when they have one, they look to keep it as long as possible. But, when it comes to the overall success of the team, Baker really doesn’t do that much, has never did that much.

          It’s not like Chapman is going to lead us to the promised land, a WS title. When was the last time a closer did that for a team? When was the last time a 5th man starter (essentially a rookie starter since he’s never started at this level) ever did that? My guess, several decades if ever.

        • @Kyle Farmer: The speculation that there is even a rift between Jocketty and Baker is unfounded. But Jocketty resigning over said rift is absurd.

          I am not a Baker fan, while as far as I’m concerned Jocketty is one of the top GMs in the business. I’m tired of Baker. TIRED! But WTF? A manager MUST have some say in the makeup of a team. MUST.

        • @TC:
          I agree. But, a manager should never be taking it to the papers. And, that doesn’t mean a manager makes the final decision. It would be the GM or even the owner.

        • @TC: TC, you are absolutely right that any rift is pure speculation on my part. I believe that a field manager should have some say in the make-up of the team, but I don’t think that say should be in the media. I think it should be behind closed doors.

          I sure hope you’re right about me being absurd. I just don’t think it’s absurd to think that a guy like Jocketty wouldn’t be real thrilled about how this situation has worked out…..if it’s worked out at all! I am basing that thought on the idea that Jocketty wanted Chapman in the rotation and did everything possible to put together a roster that made that happen only to have a campaign waged against him in the media. Again, I would love being wrong here.

        • @Kyle Farmer: I understand. I just see it differently. I don’t know if there is a team Starter vs team Closer like we have here. I see it ultimately as Mr Castellini letting Jocketty make the final decision. Jocketty just wants to look at the option and is going to listen to his trusted advisors which obviously includes Baker and Price. I don’t necessarily see the two on opposite sides. I see Baker trying to use his considerable influence with the media to change the opinion of the public. I think Jocketty will also take fan interest into consideration.

          If I owned the Reds, I’d name Broxton as my primary 9th inning guy and use Chapman and Marshall in the bullpen for high leverage situations. Number of innings is not the only way to squeeze value from a player. People come to the stadium to see Chapman pitch. People will come any time because Chapman can pitch any day, not every 5th. Putting Chapman in when he is needed most increases his value over a traditional “closer”.

  6. What I keep reading here is “maybe” or “could be” or has the potential to be an ACE someday. Well we know what he can do and do very well. We know HE wants to and feels more comfortable in the bullpen as does our manager. He may some day learn how to throw more then 1 pitch consistantly for strikes, right now he can’t.

    Also this team has good chemistry and why would you mess with that at this point. This isn’t 2004 or 5, it’s 2013 and this team is one of the top 5 in the entire league. We have no knowledge of how consistantly successful he was in Cuba. I mean do we know how often he started, against who and his numbers? He throws very hard, but we saw this past season that if that pitch isn’t located right, even AAAA players can hit him.

    IF a starter goes down then I might consider him as a limted time starter, but when just about everyone you ask who knows the game or played the game says Chapman will be more successful as will the Reds with him in the PEN, then that is the only choice to make.

    • @dn4192: The entire point of “maybe” or “could be” is we don’t know. And we should try. If Chapman could become an ace, and we never give him the chance to try it, that’s a huge cost. Chapman didn’t say he was more comfortable closing, he said it was exciting. He’d find starting exciting, too. Baker, now that’s who would be more comfortable. It’s because of his ancient world view of established closers.

      You “mess” with this team because of the NLDS last year. The difference one more strong starting pitcher would have made in the rotation then. If you’re satisfied with winning the NL Central, then by all means, don’t change the team. But if you aren’t satisfied with 2012 (and I’m not) then you keep looking to make the team better.

      Isn’t your “good chemistry” and “top 5 team” point also a reason we shouldn’t have traded Drew Stubbs for Shin-Shoo Choo? Do you support that move? Why would you risk jeopardizing the chemistry of the team with that move?

      The obvious answer is that you always have to look to improve your team. The other top 5 teams don’t sit still. Washington added a top starter, top closer, top center fielder and have Stephen Strasburg back for the post-season. And you want the Reds to rest on their 2012 chemistry? No thanks.

      • @dn4192: The entire point of “maybe” or “could be” is we don’t know. And we should try. If Chapman could become an ace, and we never give him the chance to try it, that’s a huge cost. Chapman didn’t say he was more comfortable closing, he said it was exciting. He’d find starting exciting, too. Baker, now that’s who would be more comfortable. It’s because of his ancient world view of established closers. You “mess” with this team because of the NLDS last year. The difference one more strong starting pitcher would have made in the rotation then. If you’re satisfied with winning the NL Central, then by all means, don’t change the team. But if you aren’t satisfied with 2012 (and I’m not) then you keep looking to make the team better. Isn’t your “good chemistry” and “top 5 team” point also a reason we shouldn’t have traded Drew Stubbs for Shin-Shoo Choo? Do you support that move? Why would you risk jeopardizing the chemistry of the team with that move? The obvious answer is that you always have to look to improve your team. The other top 5 teams don’t sit still. Washington added a top starter, top closer, top center fielder and have Stephen Strasburg back for the post-season. And you want the Reds to rest on their 2012 chemistry? No thanks.

        It would hurt chemistry cause the players would have know this decision was against what the player wanted and what the manager wanted which shows lack of respect by upper mag’t towards it’s manager.

        Also to become even a good SP you need to have more then one quality pitch. Right now that is all Chapman has. You also just don’t become even a quality starter with just a handful of starts in AAA and Spring training. Had the Reds from the start done it right then I might be more open to it, but now, with where this team is, us “old schools” value him more out of the pen then a highly questionable starter.

        • @dn4192: That’s just unfounded, frankly, because Chapman wanted to start last year, and they had him close. Consistency with reasoning…?

    • @dn4192: Last year Chapman had the best ERA of any starter in spring. This year he has the best ERA of any starter in camp.

      I know spring stats don’t mean a whole lot, but I’m pretty sure the pitchers are trying to get everyone out, and the hitters are trying to get a hit every time, and Chapman has given up the fewest runs in two consecutive years.

      So yeah, it’s a maybe that he’ll be an ace. It doesn’t seem like very much of a maybe that he can be an effective starter though. And an effective starter is worth more than a great reliever. A great starter is just worth way more than a great reliever.

  7. from Fay

    GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Dusty Baker and Walt Jocketty both said no decision has been made on whether Aroldis Chapman will start or pitch out of the bullpen.

    Paul Daughterty reported that “barring a significant change of minds, the Reds are expected to announce today” that Chapman will close.

    “I don’t know where that came from,” Baker said. “We didn’t say that. There’s plenty of speculation every day. We’ll let you know soon. Then we can put it to rest and no more talking about. I’m sure everybody has an opinion one way or the other no matter which way we go. It’s a topic of discussion.”

    Chapman is scheduled to pitch tomorrow after Mike Leake. I asked Baker how many innings Chapman is going to pitch.

    “That’s not funny, John,” he said.

    My guess is Chapman pitches one inning and begins preparation as the closer. The Reds like to announce these things on their schedule.

    • “That’s not funny, John,” he said

      What, he violated the Dusty Rules? Shame on everybody. Walt… be a boss. If Dusty went behind his back to Big Bob… well, there’s little to respect Dusty for in this particular saga any way it gets sliced. Petulant child. As Doc said… he gets his security blanket.

  8. I just don’t think the decision on Chapman will make or break this team. If he doesn’t close, we have a plan B there. If he doesn’t start, we have a plan B there. Both are very do-able plan B’s. We may lose a bit but not much IMO. Sure, I would like to see one over the other. But, it’s not like a closer or a 5th “rookie” starter (essentially, since he’s never started in this league) is going to lead us to the promised land, a WS title.

  9. From Sheldon:

    Contrary to a report this morning, manager Dusty Baker and GM Walt Jocketty denied that a decision was reached on the future of pitcher Aroldis Chapman. No announcement is coming on Thursday.

    “I don’t know where that came from. We didn’t say that,” Baker said. “There’s plenty of speculation every day. We’ll let you know soon. Then we can put it to rest and no more talking about. I’m sure everybody has an opinion one way or the other no matter which way we go. It’s a topic of discussion.”

    Chapman is supposed to follow Mike Leake out of the bullpen on Friday. Baker would not say how many innings Chapman is scheduled to pitch.

  10. OK, I’m going to dial the outrage meter back a couple of notches until there’s confirmation on this.

    But… if this turns out to be true… lord knows I’ve been critical of Dusty over some things, while still acknowledging that the players really seem to like playing for him, and you know, two playoffs in three years and all. I have never considered myself a “hater”.

    But given the passive-aggressive BS campaigning for his agenda, and the way the tea leaves have been reading the last few days… He needs to be very careful about how he responds to his “victory” if he gets it, because I’m getting ready to start drinking the haterade.

    • @RC: I think many fans see this as a battle between Dusty and Jocketty, but I doubt Dusty sees it that way. I think he sees it as Chapman (closer) and Leake (starter) being guys with jobs to lose, and I think he’ll praise both guys for keeping their jobs despite tough competition, ultimately celebrating bringing back the same pitching staff that was so successful in 2012. I think Dusty can do that tastefully, including raving about how Mike Leake is set for a breakout season.

      I’m not sure if you’re expecting Dusty to point and laugh at Jocketty while holding up some ‘Chapman for Closer’ sign.

      • @redsfanman: I don’t really see it as a “battle” between Baker and Jocketty, at least no more than any other management-level business disagreement is. If Jocketty felt like he had an adversarial relationship with his manager, all he had to do was not extend him for two more years. And as far as I know, the idea that Baker went over his head directly to Castellini is pure speculation that I ain’t buying without some serious corroboration.

        Baker’s public comments on the matter might possibly be contentious, but even that’s speculative.

        All I know is this – I believe that a decision to keep Chapman in the pen for the season is spectacularly wrong-headed and shortsighted, and *if* I feel like Dusty comes out crowing about the decision… I’m only human. It will profoundly change my opinion of the guy. I honestly don’t expect that to happen – I think Dusty’s generally a classy guy, and he’ll probably consider the reaction to his response. But… he does get “bristly” sometimes.

        • @RC: Thanks for saying it better than I could. That is until being spectacularly wrong-headed.

          Truly though, while I tend to prefer him in the bullpen, my biggest plus in the starter column is that Baker wants him in the bullpen as well. I have no trust in Baker’s baseball decisions. “Hey, Stubbs is fast! Let’s make him the leadoff hitter. What? He can’t get on base. That’s okay. Just go up there and swing Stubby.”

      • @redsfanman:
        This sounds illogical, redsfanman. If there wasn’t some sort of “problem” between what Baker wants and the front office, why would Baker even bring it up to the papers to push the front office for a decision? What’s he going to do now that he can’t do when the season starts for Chapman and Leake? Even if there was something he could do, there was no reason to press the front office for a decision through the papers. Baker’s done nothing tastefully with this at all, exactly like his 2010 extension, even if the front office didn’t help things.

      • @redsfanman: And what is it about how Leake pitched down the stretch, pitched in the playoffs, and pitched this spring that would lead you to believe he’s primed for a “breakout” season.

        Mike Leake is not that good. Watch him pitch like a scout, look at his numbers, whatever your approach, he’s not that good. Chapman could be better than him throwing 93.

        OIf this was an actual competition for the 5th starter spot, it wouldn’t really be that close.

        • @RC: I think what some people call being ‘shortsighted’ will be seen by others as doing what is best for the 2013 Reds. The Reds are aiming for the World Series, not to rebuild.

          @steveschoen: Newspaper writers asked Dusty for his opinion/preference, and he offered it, while clarifying that it wasn’t a final decision. I suspect that he had an indication of what decision the team would make before he made any comments on the matter.

          What’s he going to do now than he couldn’t do otherwise? He can argue that he’s always been a big supporter for his players, including Mike Leake. He’s a player’s manager and he never wrote Mike Leake off. Leake is the guy who seems to be frequently left out in this discussion.

          @al: What is it about how Chapman performed in the bullpen that makes you think he can be a successful starter in 2013? Optimism. You can also choose to be optimistic about Mike Leake.

          The scouts I’ve been reading about in articles lately have been raving about how Mike Leake has had control over 4 pitches this spring, which he’s been able to consistently throw for strikes. Chapman has had some trouble controlling his secondary/breaking pitches and throwing strikes. Can Chapman get by with 1 pitch? That’s a whole different debate. I’m interested in giving Mike Leake another shot rather than writing him off as ‘not that good’.

          I think that if this was an actual competition for the 5th spot there’d be very little disagreement – instead lots of people decided in advance that they wanted Chapman to win because he throws harder, and won’t accept anything else – after all, Sabermetrics show he could have a higher WAR value. If they choose Leake… yikes… must be a mistake. To me that doesn’t seem like a fair competition, if one of two options is unacceptable no matter what.

        • @redsfanman: Well, I would say that given the fact that the Reds have tied up several of their young players long term, doing what’s best for the 2013 Reds might be considered shortsighted. There’s a whole world possibilities between aiming for a World Series and rebuilding.

          Not to mention that I would strongly argue the thought that Chapman as closer is not what’s best for the 2013 Reds, either.

        • @redsfanman: I don’t think it’s just raw optimism that makes me think that Chapman is a better choice for 5th starter than Leake. Chapman has shown the ability to throw more than an inning at a time in both of the last two spring trainings. He was an average starter at AAA 3 years ago when he had had very little coaching, had much worse control than he does now, and was a few months removed from defecting.

          I think there are very clear reasons to think he can be effective as a starter. I believe that Leake is throwing strikes. The problem is he throws very hittable strikes. He’s given up 16 hits in 8 innings, has given up a lot of hits in his big league career.

          Chapman is very tough to hit. He throws hard, he’s got really long arms, and has a very smooth delivery.

          If I didn’t really believe that Chapman was a better choice for 5th starter, I certainly wouldn’t argue for that decision. I am not that impressed with Leake. He had a bad year last year, and I think his ceiling is pretty low. If he bounces back this year, great, I’m rooting for him because he’s on the Reds. But I’m not banking on it.

          Also, I think it’s very likely that one of the Reds starters gets hurt this year, so my preference would be to have Leake as the swing man until that happens and be ready to go when it does. If Leake starts the year as the 6th starter, I still wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get 15 to 20 starts.

        • Also, I think it’s very likely that one of the Reds starters gets hurt this year, so my preference would be to have Leake as the swing man until that happens and be ready to go when it does. If Leake starts the year as the 6th starter, I still wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him get 15 to 20 starts.

          I have confidence in Mike Leake to be able to pitch 200 innings. I might have confidence in Chapman to make 15-20 starts. The way I see it, at the moment, Chapman is the 6th starter on the depth chart until he’s surpassed by Tony Cingrani. Until the Reds say otherwise I think Chapman is the guy in line for those extra 15-20 starts (which you suggest Mike Leake should get) that the Reds will need to get from somebody if a starter gets hurt.

        • @al: I’m curious, what is the longest Chapman has ever pitched in a spring training games? 3, 4 innings? He is a power pitcher who would be asked to throw a lot more pitches, both fastballs and a variety of breaking pitches. The prospects of Tommy John surgery seem terrifying.

          Chapman is a power pitcher, Leake is more of a contact pitcher. You don’t need to be a power pitcher to be successful, look at Bronson Arroyo. I think Arroyo and Leake both pitch to contact and rely heavily on fielders to get hitters out. With the regular Reds’ defense (you know, Brandon Phillips instead of Henry Rodriguez, Devin Mesoraco instead of Miguel Olivo) I think he’ll do fine.

          As far as Leake’s ceiling, I think he can pitch 200+ innings with a winning record and an ERA around 3.80. A solid #5 starter with negligible concerns about injuries. I think he provides some stability where Chapman provides questions.

          Here’s an interesting article on the matter that I think is worth reading, at least the part on Leake:

          http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1571878-cincinnati-reds-why-mike-leake-is-the-best-option-for-the-fifth-starting-spot

          The article points out that last year Leake was victim of 4 blown saves and three times he was charged with a loss in a quality start. Yikes! He would’ve been 15-9 instead of 8-9 if his teammates did well.

        • @redsfanman: Blown saves definitely hurt Leake last year but throwing his Quality Start stat out there isn’t saying much. When the Quality Start stat was developed offense was up and a 6-inning performance with 3 runs or less was a solid outing. I really think the stat needs to be revised to reflect the current era in which MLB has entered. I’m not sure where the threshold should be but it should probably be adjusted. In the meantime, the Quality Start just doesn’t mean is as much as it once did. And you know I’m a “Chapman in the pen” proponent saying this. I also doubt Leake is good for 200 innings. Leake has some serious issues the 2nd and especially the 3rd time through a lineup. He’s a 6-inning pitcher on a good day.

        • @redsfanman: That areticle was actually pretty bad.

          It claims fans would have “overlooked” his bad numbers if he had 15 wins. I for one don’t care one little bit about a starters win totals, so that doesn’t apply to me I guess.

          Leake gave up 10+ hits/9IP last year. He’s a hittable pitcher, and always has been. You say stability, but the article even says that when he’s bad, he’s going to be really bad. Like give up 10 hits in 3 innings bad, like his last start.

        • @redsfanman: A month ago I speculated that you were going to be right on the Chapman to closer prediction, but I also stated that your points supporting this view are illogical. Nothing has changed.

          Almost all of your post is, frankly, way off base, but my favorite off-base part is where you say that Leake would win if it were a competition and a Chapman supporter hadn’t predetermined that he should start over Leake.

          This is based on their Spring performances? Where Chapman pitched EIGHT innings? That’s almost funny.

        • @RC: Newspaper writers asked Dusty for his opinion/preference, and he offered it, while clarifying that it wasn’t a final decision.

          You are obviously referring to an entirely another article, not the one that I am obviously referring to. Baker told the papers he wanted a decision from the front office soon. He didn’t need to say anything like that to the papers. You are way off base on this one.

        • @redsfanman: I have no doubts that Leake can throw strikes. This is not in question. There is, however, question as to whether his stuff is good enough to be a great starter at the major league level. I find this maddeningly obvious, but here goes.

          Mike Leake is a #4 or #5 starter. That is the best case scenario. Let us use the old timey way of looking at Mike Leake. His velocity average to below average (hitting speed). He does not have an out pitch. He can throw strikes, but is terribly inconsistent with location within the zone (hitting spots). There is a long track record of him leaving pitches up and out over the plate to be hammered. This is why he sometimes looks like he couldn’t retire a batter on the local JV team. I’m sure he is a swell guy. However, he simply appears to be less than what the Reds need to make a run at a World Series (after all, this ain’t 2006).

          I am by no means an expert on the more quantitative side of things. However, I do believe that there is a gargantuan amount of data that supports the old timey assessment of Leake as well. Here is the kicker (for those who think he is due to break out). He is the same age as Jay Bruce! . . . This is by no means old. He is what he is.

          Now, Chapman is also 25. However, Chapman has a few things going for him that Mike Leake does not. Chapman has a pretty good fastball. He also, and has shown it many times, has an outstanding slider. This, my friends, is all some starting pitchers need. Historically, there seems to be a case for Chapman developing both better control over all of his pitches as well as a more durable arm by moving to the rotation. The routine of a starting pitch may be just what his body needs to adjust and avoid those “dead arm” periods that he seems to go through. Think Randy Johnson. Think Sandy Koufax. Think Nolan Ryan. This is beyond and open/shut case. The choice here is so obvious. You don’t use a Ferrari to deliver pizza.

        • @Hank Aarons Teammate: Who said the Reds were logical?

          I stand by the suggestion that it’s not a fair one one one competition if one guy is absolutely not allowed to win because he doesn’t throw as hard.

          Leake and Chapman’s spring performances haven’t just been their 8 innings, they’ve also worked bullpen sessions between starts and, I believe, they both started a minor league game. This spring scouts seemed to have picked up on Leake being able to throw strikes… and Chapman not throwing strikes.

          @Drew Mac: Bronson Arroyo has always faced the same criticism as Mike Leake, that he doesn’t have the ‘stuff’ to be a successful MLB starter. I think they’ve both shown otherwise.

          If you believe that Mike Leake doesn’t have the pitches to retire JV hitters… well, you’re mistaken but I know I won’t be able to change your mind. If you think Aroldis Chapman is the next Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, or Nolan Ryan I’m also clearly not going to be able to change your mind. You’re setting extremely low expectations for Leake (which he can easily surpass) and extremely high comparisons for Chapman that he can’t hope to meet.

          Will Chapman be great like Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, or Nolan Ryan? Or will he struggle to throw strikes and get through innings like Edinson Volquez? Will he get injured like Mark Prior? Who knows? What we know is that he can be a dominant reliever.

          Age, Mike Leake is the same age Homer Bailey was during Bailey’s 2012 breakout season. And the same age Johnny Cueto was in his 2011 breakout season. Other guys, including Mat Latos and Jay Bruce, put things together at a younger age. Had you given up on Cueto and Bailey before their breakout seasons?

          You don’t use a Ferrari to deliver pizza? You also don’t take a Ferrari on a trip if it can only make it 75% of the way (150 inning limit, but starters are expected to pitch 200+ innings) – it might be a neat drive at the start (April) but it becomes a big problem near the end (September through the playoffs).

  11. I’m hoping this is just a joke from Doc trying to ruin one of my favorite days of the year. I rarely read Doc, and I only believe 40 % of what he says, so I still hold out hope that the organization is not making a shortsighted decision. And yes, I would be fine with Chapman starting the year in the pen, coming in to pitch 2 or 3 innings at a time in high leverage situations then transitioning to the rotation after the all-star break. Sadly, I don’t think that would be in Dusty’s plans.

    If they went with the “bullpen to start the year” strategy, it wouldn’t be a bad strategy to use Chapman as one of the closers. He could be a 2-inning closer. Doesn’t pitch back-to-back days. Broxton closes games that Chapman isn’t available. The 8th/9th inning guys get a day off when Chapman closes out a game.

    That gives Chapman a role. I don’t see Baker successfully managing when to use Chapman in which situation. A well-defined role for Chapman until he moved to the bullpen takes some of the thinking out of Baker’s in-game decisions.

    • @Greg Dafler: That’d be a fine plan… but if this announcement has any veracity, why wouldn’t they have qualified by saying “will start in the bullpen and transition”… You’d think Doc would have asked that obvious follow-up.

      • @Matt WI: I think you’re putting too much faith in Paul Daugherty – I get the impression that he wasn’t reporting a formal statement out of the Reds’ organization, just that he was trying to be the first to break a big story that others, including John Fay, have hinted at.

        Chapman will return to the bullpen, I think that’s been pretty clear for several days now. His actual role has yet to be determined though, and it should be much harder for Daugherty to predict.

    • If they went with the “bullpen to start the year” strategy, it wouldn’t be a bad strategy to use Chapman as one of the closers. He could be a 2-inning closer. Doesn’t pitch back-to-back days. Broxton closes games that Chapman isn’t available. The 8th/9th inning guys get a day off when Chapman closes out a game. That gives Chapman a role. I don’t see Baker successfully managing when to use Chapman in which situation. A well-defined role for Chapman until he moved to the bullpen takes some of the thinking out of Baker’s in-game decisions.

      I wouldn’t mind that plan, I just hope the organization communicates and commits to it. IMO, you paid Broxton to close, and you have the guy who SHOULD be closing in the pen already in Marshall. I still think I would prefer alternating some innings/games with a Chappy/LeCure combo to limit some innings early, especially since long relievers aren’t used much in post season so we can make Sam a little rubber armed during the year (sorry, Sam), but the plan to start Chappy in the pen and graduate him into the rotation is a bit safer I suppose…..Of course it could have been done two years ago, but I wouldn’t want to sound bitter…..

  12. If Paul Daugherty just wanted to stir up some excitement and attention I think he was very successful, forcing the Reds to respond… with another delay.

  13. Interesting stuff. Whatever the role they decide for Chapman, I just hope they have the stones to stick with the decision they make. Sink or swim with the decision. I just hope that the decision that is made is the one that is best for the Reds as a whole, best for the team. Not on what is best for the player or the manager. Bouncing Chapman back and for from the bullpen to the rotation is only asking for trouble. Begging for trouble is more like it. If Chapman starts as closer and one of the starters is injured or profoundly struggles, Chapman should still close and another player moved in to take the starters spot. It would be detrimental to the team and him to move him back and forth. At least that’s the view from this seat.

    • @WVRedlegs: I think the effect is more a matter of what’s best for the team in 2013 specifically vs. what is best for the team in the next few years. … Maybe if Chapman is comfortable in the closer’s role and can stay healthy pitching multiple days consecutively, maybe the Reds get a few more saves than Broxton or whoever else would provide this season. (But statistically, probably a wash, right?)

      But missing a chance to have Chapman in the rotation for the next few years without even trying it out seems a poor choice of asset management.

    • @WVRedlegs: And that’s one of the many crappy things about how the Reds have handled this. Now that they’ve made it a public spectacale there’s going to be a ton of second guessing no matter what happens during the season.

      The first time he blows a save, or his velocity drops down because he’s pitched two or three days in a row, it’s going to be a big news story.

  14. Two days ago I heard a rumor that a possible Broxton/Ludwick deal was being explored with AL teams. I placed that in the Yeah, Right file. Now, I ponder and wonder.

    • @WVRedlegs:
      Oooo, that would be interesting. Then, I would have to think Chapman to closer, Leake to starter. Then, I would have to think some sort of combination of Heisey and Paul in left field. Maybe bringing in Negron or Robinson for the 5th OF?

      But, then, the 4 hole hitter? I would think we would have to be looking at Frazier or Bruce, or even Devin possibly when he plays, with how he’s seemed to find his bat (so far; at least if Baker ever would bat a catcher out of the 8 hole). Or, maybe this would be a trade for a better 4 hole bat?

        • Two days ago I heard a rumor that a possible Broxton/Ludwick deal was being explored with AL teams.I placed that in the Yeah, Right file.Now, I ponder and wonder.

          You know, a final decision on Chapman doesn’t change the fact that the Reds’ top priority is to win the World Series in 2013. It’s not a sign that they’re reading to start dismantling. Broxton showed that he was a valuable part of their bullpen last season and it’s extremely unlikely to see him moved.

          @steveschoen: I agree that there’s an excess of relievers – Manny Parra comes to mind. Broxton (along with Marshall and Chapman) are at the top of the depth chart, Parra is probably at the bottom… and they have to do something with him.

      • @steveschoen:

        Maybe that was what they were exploring. The possibility of getting a RH hitting LF in return that can bat 4th and be solid protection for Votto. Something Ludwick isn’t.
        And that would reduce the payroll by $15MM, another thing to consider. All maybes though.

  15. No matter what the decision, I’m not sure why one would be outraged by it. I’m in the same camp as @steveschoen in that I don’t think this makes or breaks the team either way. As most everyone here probably knows I’m part of the minority view at the Nation that Chapman should remain the closer. If they moved him to the rotation however I’d trust that the Reds’ management team was doing what they felt was in the team’s best interest for winning a pennant this year. I wouldn’t be thrilled with the decision but I’d support it and root for Chapman to be the ace that many here think he could be. Maybe I’m not prone to be too emotional about it if Chapman were to move to the rotation because I can see the mathematical reasoning behind such a move, even if the baseball-player in me disagrees with the math. I guess I just don’t understand why someone with the view that Chapman should be moved to the rotation couldn’t at least understand the opposing viewpoint; even if they have to shake their head and what seems to be the continued ignorance of Reds’ management.

    • @LWBlogger: I would say a couple of things in response:

      I agree, this doesn’t make or break the team – this year’s team is better than last year’s, if only for the addition of Choo. I may make or break Chapman’s chance to ever start as a Red, though. If he only throws 70 innings this year, the same conversion debate will be had next year, but woth Chapman one year closer to the end of his contract. I’m not sure that, given the recent extensions of several players, the organization should be winning this *year*, as opposed to being serious contenders for the next several years – a cause that would be much enhanced by Chapman should he live up to his potential. And I think the most important point of all is that the “closer” position is immensely overrated, a waste of your best relief pitcher (much less a potential starter). IMO, the big myth of last season is that Chapman was an integral part of last season’s success. He was not. He was an exciting novelty act. Todd Frazier’s performance during Votto’s injury time was much more vital to the team than Chapman’s numbers, which were exactly one save better than Cordero’s 2011 in an equal number of appearances. And Cordero got canned for it.

      • @RC: Thank you. An effective starter (read: better than 8-9, 4.58 ERA) is an improvement. I wonder how many of those disagreeing with me that Chapman should start are the same ones who argued with me last spring when I said Stubbs should bat at the bottom of the order, if at all.

  16. Sounds awesome…. then Broxton can make $7m/yr as an 8th inning setup guy pitching 60 innings. Chapman can make $5m/yr as a 3-3.5 WAR closer pitching 70 innings. And Marshall can make $5.5m/yr as a LOOGY.

    All so Dusty doesn’t have to worry about managing as much.

    • Sounds awesome…. then Broxton can make $7m/yr as an 8th inning setup guy pitching 60 innings. Chapman can make $5m/yr as a 3-3.5 WAR closer pitching 70 innings. And Marshall can make $5.5m/yr as a LOOGY.

      All so Dusty doesn’t have to worry about managing as much.

      I think you can either choose to be bitter about the Reds having the best bullpen in the NL… or be happy about it. I choose the later.

      Choose to be happy that Marshall and Broxton chose to stay as key relievers, or be angry that they’re eating up so much of the payroll. I guess everyone has to choose for themselves.

      • @redsfanman: First off, Chapman to the pen doesn’t necessarily give the Reds the best NL bullpen. Nats and Braves both might have something to say about that. Kimbrel was better than Chapman last year anyway.

        Second, no one is unhappy that Chapman is on the team, some of us are unhappy about the fact that he won’t be pitching many innings, and that the team appears to have a bad decision making process.

        • @al:
          That’s people assuming something that just isn’t there, Al. Besides, Todd’s post didn’t deal with having the best pen in the league. It was the cost of it. If Chapman does go to the pen, that is a lot of money for players who see very few innings.

        • @al:
          Hi, Al,
          I was referring to redsfanman thinking there is something that just isn’t there.

        • If Chapman does go to the pen, that is a lot of money for players who see very few innings.

          Broxton and Marshall get paid the same amount regardless of whether they pitch the 7th, 8th, or 9th innings. Only Chapman’s inning totals are in jeopardy.

        • steves

          Right. And, most all starters would see more innings most every reliever. Again, a lot of money going to players who see very few innings. It is more than obvious. What would it be, $15 million going toward maybe 1/3 of the 7-9 innings, 60 innings each player? Now, take a third of the $15 million and make him a starter, even on the low side, he pitches 120 innings, you double your cost effectiveness for the $5 million.

        • @redsfanman: First off, Chapman to the pen doesn’t necessarily give the Reds the best NL bullpen.Nats and Braves both might have something to say about that. Kimbrel was better than Chapman last year anyway.

          Yeah, well, the Reds, Nationals, and Braves can all argue that they have the best bullpen in the NL. It’s debatable but, in my opinion, with Chapman’s help the Reds have the best bullpen. Unfortunately many of the published rankings have the Reds moved down a few spots with the expectation that Broxton would close.

          Chapman, Marshall, Broxton, and Hoover are all good. Personally I’d take them over the combo of Kimbrel, Venters, and O’Flaherty… or Rafael Soriano, Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, and Craig Stammen. I guess we’ll have to watch the regular season to see who turns out to be the best group.

      • @ToddAlmighty: Why is everyone so worried about the “money issue”, I believe with the deals Bob has agreed to money is no longer an issue.

        If money is now an issue for the New York Yankees, money is always going to be an issue for every team. Don’t kid yourself.

        Overpaying for relief pitching has been shown over and over to be a way that mediocre teams hurt themselves. That’s not to say that the Reds are mediocre, or that these moves in particular will hurt the Reds, but I think it’s fair for fans of a team to want that front office to make smart moves.

        It gives the fanbase confidence when the team makes smart decisions. When Dusty Baker puts the guy with the worst OBP in the leadoff spot for example, it gives me less confidence in the rest of his decisions. When the Reds pay nearly $25mil for 4 guys in the bullpen, it gives me less confidence that other acquisitions are going to be made wisely.

  17. Chapman said he prefers to close. While I understand and would still take that into consideration, that’s no reason still not to see what he can do as a starter. Todd Frazier said his favorite position is left field. I don’t think we are playing him in left field. Sometimes players don’t get what they want.

  18. For the record, I will say I would rather see Chapman close. But, hey, if he can make it as a starter, all the better. For, if he can make it as a starter, he definitely would be better than Leake. And, we would still have Broxton in the pen. And, if it doesn’t work, oh well, at least you tried.

  19. Couldn’t they even wait until Chapman doesn’t have the best starter’s ERA in spring training (again) to abandon all hope?

  20. Reds radio broadcast just now made the point that Baker was asked if a decision on Chapman had been made but just not announced and he said it had not been made. That’s either a lie or all the people who are leaking to various reporters (Daugherty, Hal McCoy) are wrong. What a circus.

    • @Steve Mancuso: it’s one of those convenient half-lies i’m sure. the decision has been “made,” but not officially made, so it hasn’t been made, even though, yeah, it’s been “made.”

    • 2013 Spring:

      Chapman 8 IP, 2.25 ERA, .185 AVG against
      Leake 8.1 IP, 6.48 ERA, .441 AVG against

      Chapman has 4 walks and 4 strikeouts, Leake has 0 walks and 6 strikeouts. Both have given up 1 homerun.

      Some scouts have told reporters that Chapman has had trouble throwing his secondary/breaking pitches for strikes and getting through innings quickly, while Leake has been throwing 3 or 4 pitches for strikes. I’m interested in seeing how Leake does with the regular major league defense behind him.

      How did Mike Leake do other springs? In 2011 he had a 7.29 ERA in 21 innings pitched (.379 AVG against). 2012 his ERA was 5.14 in 14 innings (.345 AVG against). He made the rotation those times also.

      I’m optimistic about Mike Leake’s season. He put up a 3.86 ERA in 2011 and I think Bryan Price can help him to improve upon that this year.

      • @redsfanman: So are you arguing that you think Mike Leake should be the Reds 5th starter because you think he would put up better numbers than Chapman?

        You seem to have missed one key statistic: hits. Hits tend to lead to runs, so it’s sort of important. Leake has given up 16 so far, while Chapman has given up 5.

        For his career, Leake has given up 9.6 hits/9IP, while Chapman has given up 4.5. When Chapman was a starter for AAA he gave up 7.4, and that was when he had worse control and hadn’t had much major league coaching. I think it’s clear that he’s improved somewhat since then.

        So to me it seems pretty clear that Leake is going to give up substantially more hits than Chapman. Add that to the long list of reasons that Chapman is better than Leake.

        • @al: But, Leake’s in the best shape of his life and is throwing 9 different pitches for strikes. He’s Greg Maddux. Just don’t look at the 6.48 ERA. (No, I don’t think it’s significant, just can’t resist the sarcasm…)

      • I’m optimistic about Mike Leake’s season. He put up a 3.86 ERA in 2011 and I think Bryan Price can help him to improve upon that this year.

        Also, this statement doesn’t make any sense to me, since you site his 2011 ERA and Price as if that combination didn’t exist last year. Why will Price be able to help him improve on 2011 this year when he couldn’t last year? Shouldn’t he work on improving his well below average ERA from last year before improving on his league average ERA from two years ago?

        • @al: I’m not arguing that Mike Leake should be the 5th starter because he would put up better numbers than Chapman, I’m saying that he WILL be the fifth starters and there are positives you can choose to find in that. If you choose to focus on negatives and want to believe that Mike Leake is worse in every way, fine.

          Hits, I felt Steve had shown that Leake had given up more hits by comparing the batting average against. Leake has allowed 16 runners to reach base, Chapman has allowed 9 to reach base, I don’t expect either ratio to continue into the regular season but I’m concerned about Chapman’s walks.

          Also, this statement doesn’t make any sense to me, since you site his 2011 ERA and Price as if that combination didn’t exist last year.Why will Price be able to help him improve on 2011 this year when he couldn’t last year?Shouldn’t he work on improving his well below average ERA from last year before improving on his league average ERA from two years ago?

          I chose to use Mike Leake’s best season as something to build upon, rather than his worst. Why will Bryan Price be able to make Leake better in 2013 than he was in 2012? I don’t know, but he sure made Homer Bailey better in 2012 than Bailey had been in 2011. He made Cueto better in 2011 than he’d been in 2010. I don’t think expecting Bryan Price to improve Mike Leake is nearly as big of a challenge of converting Chapman. I don’t understand this lack of any optimism towards Mike Leake.

        • @al: Not to mention the fact that closers aren’t as valuable as starters…noobs were dazzled by watching Chapman strike batters out in the 9th, but he was one save better than Cordero the year before. Anyone who thinks Chapman wouldn’t improve the rotation and therefore the staff are clueless. Including idiot in the dugout.

    • 2013 Spring:

      Chapman 8 IP, 2.25 ERA, .185 AVG against
      Leake 8.1 IP, 6.48 ERA, .441 AVG against

      Yet, to hear talk from different people on mlb radio, you’d think that Chapman has had a terrible spring. So much talk that he somehow has “struggled” and isn’t ready for a rotation spot. To hear Mike Stanton talk last night, it was like Chapman hadn’t shown the “polish” and ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes, so he isn’t ready for the rotation. It’s been EIGHT INNINGS!!! I swear, I just don’t understand. …

      Kevin Kennedy did say a little bit ago that even if he is struggling, you have to make a decision and stick with it. He also said he didn’t see how the organization could have appeared set to move Chapman to the rotation, and yet have this divisiveness emerge now. … Welcome to the club, Mr. Kennedy.

      • @Brian Van Hook: That’s a good point about the organization saying that Chapman was going to the rotation even before spring training started. I don’t think the message was that he was going to be competing for a spot in the rotation. The message was that he was going to the rotation, likely barring any unforeseen injury or a complete spring collapse. The fact that they seem to be an about-face on that decision gives the impression that management is very, very fragmented. If they are fragmented about this, what else might they be wishy-washy on?

  21. Anyone else think Derrick Robbinson is making waves in Reds camp …? They have two great utility outfielders with XP and Heisy who have definitely come to ST and shown they shouldn’t be left off the team based on performance. But Robbinson has been pretty impressive as well ….

    • @Love4Reds: I’m glad for Robinson, and wish him all the success in the world, but no, he’s not going to change the Reds bench.

      He’s got terrible career minor league numbers. I don’t think that the Reds would take a total flier on someone based on their early spring training hitting numbers (mostly accrued against non-major league pitchers), without some kind of minor league track record.

      Now if he goes down to AAA and continues to hit well, and shows that he’s really a changed player, anyone can hit their way onto a team given enough success.

        • @Steve Mancuso: yeah i just heard that on the radio, and that sounds good to me. the reds could definitely use more outfield depth, i hope he turns it around in AAA.

        • @al: My greatest concern for him is that he makes the perfect Baker leadoff guy. Fast, can steal bases and won’t clog the bases, plays CF, and most importantly for Baker, has a low OBP.

        • @TC: He had a .344 OBP in the minors last year. That’s not great but it isn’t dreadful. Another promising sign is that his BB% over the last three years are:

          2010(AA): 7.9%
          2011(AA): 9.5%
          2012(AAA): 10.2%

          If that trend continues, he could make himself a serviceable player. Now Steamer only projects him at 7.5% and ZiPS really doesn’t like his walk rate projecting him at 6.3%

          All statistics from FanGraphs

      • @al:
        Actually, Paul’s major and minor league numbers aren’t much better. Also, if a player’s numbers were good, then they would probably be looking for a starting position. For a bench player, I wouldn’t have a problem using him sometime. Or, if that trade goes through that someone said they heard, if that ends up with Heisey starting in LF, which I wouldn’t mind, we would need an OF for the bench.

        • @steveschoen: Robinson has a .668 OPS in AAA and a .645 OPS in the minors overall.

          Paul has an .890 ops in AAA and an .817 ops in the minors overall. Are you sure you were look at the right stat page? Those look like much better numbers to me.

          Granted Paul has a .669 career ops in the big leagues,k but he put up an .844 with the Reds last year, and he’s only 27. His minor league numbers are basically identical to Chris Heisey’s.

          This is a no contest to me.

    • @Love4Reds: I just can’t get past the thought that the XP who we’re counting on as a solid bench contributor is the same guy who got cut loose mid season last year. Yes, sometimes a change of scenery does wonders. But I’d be happier if I knew that we had someone else who could step into that role if XP turns back into “that guy”.

      • @RC: I agree. I’ve never been able to shake the “sky will fall” feeling from XP. Been pretty wrong so far, and I can live with that.

  22. If Chapman should be a starter because his ERA is so good, Shouldn’t we waive Cueto for being so lousy in spring training. JUST SAYIN’

    • @bigklu18: Obviously we all know that spring starts don’t matter that much, especially when for a guy with a long track record of success like Cueto. So no, let’s not cut him.

      But are you going to tell me that the fact that Chapman has been effective as a starter in spring training (twice) doesn’t add anything to the argument that he can be an effective starter? If so, that doesn’t make sense to me. He has gone out and thrown 4+ innings in each of the last two spring trainings, and given up very few hits and runs.

      What is SO different about spring training innings that people are still saying that they don’t think he can be effective in that role?

      And if the question were “are you at all worried about Cueto’s spring numbers” rather than “should we cut him” I think my answer would be yes rather than no. I’m worried that the injuries and innings are going to catch up with Cueto this year. Another reason to have more than 5 starters ready to go.

  23. Folks, this sucks and all, but let me repeat what I said last year and in the Spring: I believe that Aroldis Chapman will never, ever throw a pitch in the first inning as a Red.

  24. Ive tried to avoid this topic for awhile, but I will say this: if the Reds do not believe in him as a starter, I would rather see them trade him for a top prospect (particularly a hitting one), and some good prospects while his value is still high based purely on his potential. I honestly would rather see him succeed as an ace for another organization (gasp! It’d suck, but…) and have the top 100 prospects (unproven, but…) than see him in the Reds bullpen this year. I’d like to stress that it would take TOP prospects tho, not simply giving him away. In a perfect world, he’d be an ace for the Reds for the rest of his career, but this isn’t a perfect world.

    On a different note, do you think that Baker’s afraid of potentially burning out another elite arm and receiving the blame for it? That’d make a lot more sense in regards to how he’s acted. If the Reds ignore him and Chapman’s injured, he can say, “Told ya so,” rather than be blamed a la Prior.

    Ironic that the pitcher whose career he’s blamed for ruining is in the same camp as the pitcher whose career he might be attempting (in a misguided way, IMO) to save.

    • @rhayex: I honestly think they may have already hurt his trade value too much to get a top prospect by the way they’ve handled his development.

  25. Well if Chapman is the closer and I am not ready to give that one to redsfanman yet, it will cost him 50-100 million in his next contract.

    No matter what everyone says, players want the $$$’s

    If Chapman does take a spot in the pen, I think that Simon and LeCure should be looked at for 5 starter because they are better than Leake. Leake should be a long man or more probably in AAA if we are keeping the best pitchers

  26. The topic of Chapman’s gross mishandling thus far throughout his Reds career, and possible continuation of it, aside….

    …It’s times like this when I wish that Chris Heisey could just get a legit chance as an everyday starter for an extended period of time. I know it’s Spring Training, and the numbers don’t matter much, but 44 AB leading to a .295/.319/.614 is awfully nice looking. He doesn’t walk very much, but at least it looks like his 2011 power is back which is essentially the difference between his numbers last year and this spring training where he hit .265/.315/.401… I think Heisey can be an .800 OPS type starter, with the possibility of being better if he can develop some patience to take walks (so never while Dusty or Jacoby are still around).

    • steves

      Me, too, Todd. He did get a chance to start at a stretch, like mid-May to mid-June and did fine, like 288/324. But, when Ludwick took his turn to try to win the LF job, that’s when Ludwick’s bat caught fire where we just couldn’t take him out.

      I still would have no problem seeing Heisey regularly in LF or even in CF; still glad we got Choo, though. He would need some time to get back into the routine of things. But, after a week or two, I think he would be fine. Sure a whole heck of a lot better overall than Gomes was for us after his first May with us, and sure better than overall than Stubbs was with us, imo.

  27. What do you all think about the social side of the Chapman closer/starter argument? I’ve argued to friends that he should start, and based on stats/projections/potential he should, but a decent counter-argument centers around his personality/maturity.

    As it has been pitched to me: remember that starters have 4 days off. They largely self-train, are on their own schedules, discipline, routine, dedication, etc. This guy has been found in some strange scenarios when he’s had 1 night off. Imagine 4 days off at a time. Maybe Dusty has insight into this– and it’s certainly not something a manager can announce to the media, nor should he. Is he “protecting” Chappy but keeping him in the pen, where you need to be accountable and “ready to play” every night?

    Thoughts?

    • @Streamer88: First of all, I’ll clarify that I have different opinions than most people here.

      I definitely don’t think that maturity and strange scenarios (I assume you are referring to things like the girlfriend robbing his hotel room and driving with a suspended license) are a big problem, if they were they could hire a professional babysitter for him like they did for Josh Hamilton… you know, to protect their investment.

      I think that to some extent Dusty is worried about how Chapman would do in the rotation (particularly involving secondary pitches and durability), either that he’d struggle for the first time in his career (why did Dusty make him go through that?) and not recover… or that he’ll get injured (chalk up another one after Mark Prior and Kerry Wood). From an emotional aspect would, hypothetically, his self esteem being smashed by struggling in the rotation lead to a seamless transition back to the closer role? If he loses his confidence I don’t think he’d be the same pitcher we saw in 2012. From Dusty’s perspective I think he’s keeping Chapman where the Reds need him, and where he’ll be successful. Fine with me.

      To some extent Dusty is protecting himself. Some people have called Chapman Dusty’s ‘safety blanket’ in the bullpen, and I think that’s true, but not just as a closer. He’s the choice to save games who (if he’s reserved for that role) nobody will question. At the same time he’s a safety blanket in case a starter gets hurt, if the Reds ask Chapman to convert to the rotation midseason. If Broxton or Cueto (or another starter) get hurt there’s a strong alternative available – as the manager that’s covering your bases.

  28. Toward the end of the thread several threads back, I posed the question, what if the Reds baseball brain trust actually believes Leake is the better choice for the 5th starter coming out of ST. And there are plenty of reasons why they might decide this. From the baseball perspective it is not an open and shut case that Chapman is the best man for the 5th spot right now, coming out of ST.

    What happens with Chapman if the decision is Leake for now? Does Chapman work out of the major league pen or start a AAA?

    I’ll pose that question once more and add a kicker as a reality test for the folks determined that Chapman needs to be a starter. If a person cannot accept the prospect of Chapman opening the year in the rotation at AAA then they fail the reality test.

    • @OhioJim: And I will also hedge on my own reality test….

      As I’ve said before I think it makes sense putting Chapman in the MLB pen to start the season and using him as the first man out of the pen in the early part of the season when they know the starters are going to have limited range. Let him pitch 2-3 innings a couple of days a week to see how that goes and play it from there.

      Then if it turns out they see him as a starter but aren’t ready to hand him the ball to start the game at the MLB level, off to AAA he should go.

      • @OhioJim: Yes, in a just and sensible world, they would send him to AAA in that situation. Unfortunately, the odds that they’d send Chapman to AAA under *any* circumstances are roughly the same as the odds that *I* will be named the 5th starter.

  29. In politics leaks are always deliberate. They are sometimes used as trial balloons sometimes as misdirection. Sometimes someone is sending a message or running a counter-agenda, but for the latter, it has to be a person with some swagger or Dougherty would not bite. My take would be that a deliberate leak was allowed to get out or was placed by someone trying to twist and drive the agenda. I would guess a Dusty underling, with or without his approval, or perhaps thinking he was acting correctly and at the same time giving Baker plausible deniability, another critical part of politics.

    That would be how DC and state houses work. I suppose in baseball it could just be a screwup.

    • @Mark Tokar: Or Paul Daugherty read quotes by Dusty, Chapman, Broxton, Arroyo, Leake, and several other Reds players and realized that they were all saying the same thing… and put things together. He saw which way the wind was blowing, and wanted to break the story first. In turn that pushed the Reds to respond where they’ve been treading water and delaying. Unfortunately stirring up trouble didn’t bring any solid answers for Daugherty.

      If it WAS an actually leak I don’t think the idea was to twist and drive the agenda, I think it was to help prepare fans and writers who were uncertain (or in denial) so that they wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe to determine the reactions so that the Reds can prepare to adequately respond to the issues in a formal announcement. By skimming through the responses on RLN the Reds can determine pretty much every question they’ll be faced with.

  30. I find it interesting that people who remind us that a “closer” is outdated, say they want to use Marshall as the closer. I like the fact the Baker has his best pitcher not named Chapman available to pitch in high leverage innings.

    • @TC: I know what you’re saying… but when I think about the idea of someone else being the closer, be it Marshall, Hoover, or “X,” it’s with the thought that Dusty (and most of baseball) is not going to totally abandon the closer role to begin with. In the sense that he still ‘needs’ a closer, it just needs to be somebody good, but it doesn’t have to be someone of Chapman’s considerable talent.

  31. It is certainly possible that information wasn’t really leaked to Daugherty or his source isn’t very highly placed in the Reds’ organization. Daugherty’s main job is to get people to read his articles and sell subscriptions. The Chapman to the rotation debate is a huge hot-button topic. Why wouldn’t he run something that suggested the decision has been made? The piece has done it’s job. It’s got people talking and it’s driven traffic to his article.

  32. I’m starting to force myself to think of Chapman as the closer. I hate that 100%, but I’m not shocked. Not with these guys(Jocketty, Baker, et al) at the helm. I had hoped he’d start, but always felt like it wasn’t a sure bet. When they didn’t come out and say “Chapman is starting; period,” it made me question what was happening. But I had hoped otherwise.

    What this move does is puts a lot more pressure on Tony Cingrani to be more than a flash in the pan. The Reds are going to need a lefty starter eventually, and there is NO chance the Reds go through another 162 game schedule without a missed start by someone. So Cingrani’s progression becomes that much more important to this team, as the depth in the rotation is shaken. Chapman should be a starter; it should be no surprise that when they made it a competition at the outset, Chapman would end up in the ‘pen.

  33. I guess part of the reason I want Chapman to be traded for top prospects is that it feels, to me at least, that the Reds don’t have very many hitting prospects close to the majors. I guess I should say it here. I’m not a BHam fan. I have every hope he’ll be great with the Reds but the problem is that he has one pure great tool-speed. Everything I’ve seen and heard about past players who relied on speed is that they’re good for a few years, and then they plummet. Once age catches up with him, I don’t think he’ll last, regardless of how good of a first few (2-3) seasons he has. Coupled with potential injuries…too many ifs. I don’t think he’ll be ready by opening day next year either.

    I should qualify the above. I USED to really like BHam, but then facts got in the way. Also, I think Lutz is at least a year away, and who knows if Phipps will be good. I think Winker should be great tho.

    Really started rambling. Sorry.

  34. After deeply considering switching Aroldis Chapman into the rotation, the Reds have abandoned the plan and announced Friday that the lefty will return to the bullpen as their closer.

    I find this utterly despressing. It sure has tempered my enthusiasm for opening day.

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