Aroldis Chapman

The Chapman Blues

The Reds’ indecision over Aroldis Chapman’s role has cost $46 million of ownership’s money. That’s how much they’ve spent from 2012 to 2015 to avoid making Aroldis Chapman a bullpen pitcher.

$21 million (Broxton extension) + $16.5 million (Marshall extension) + $8.5 million (Madson contract) = $46 million

If the Reds would have simply decided a couple years ago to make Chapman their closer, none of these contracts would have been signed.

Even if some of that would have gone to set-up relievers, that would still leave a large amount of cash to spend on other priorities. That’s a huge and costly price to pace for indecision.

 

87 thoughts on “The Chapman Blues

  1. I don’t think Marshall was necessarily brought in for the closer, maybe a plan B closer. And, with Madson, I can’t help thinking it was fate for him to get injured when he did. I don’t consider that as much a waste but definitely an unintentional unfortunate use of money; without the injury, Madson closes last season. But, Broxton was definitely brought in as a closer, and he is still healthy. Then, I consider it a waste of money for him.

  2. Your position on Chappy’s role is no secret, to say the least, but I think you’re piling on here. The Madson money was spent with the idea of putting Chapman in the rotation in the spring, WHICH THEY DID. It was only when Madson discombobulated that Chapman was moved. As for Sean Marshall, whether or not he was in anybody’s plans as a go-to closer, he had made himself one of the most valuable and consistent 7th and 8th inning guys in the game with the Cubs, and that money was, is and will always be better earned by him in just that role.

    Never was a Broxton fan, and clearly not this late in his all-consuming career. I shudder at the thought of giving him the closer keys at this juncture, but he’s been a useful arm in any case as a utility arm. The big money extension seems crazy by any standards, but I’d rather they pay him and don’t close with him than pay the price of him closing for three years.

    You’ve made your point and stated your case, Steve. How about letting it play out and see what happens? Your premise is wild-eyed, scattershot and just plain loopy…

    • @immaculateconcepcion: You’re probably right that it’s a little bit of piling on. Maybe I’m just in a mood after listening to the Reds lose 16-0 today.

      I do think you miss my point, though, which is an entirely new one. I’m saying that if the Reds had decided to make Chapman the closer two years ago, they wouldn’t have signed the Madson contract and certainly the Broxton extension. I think Broxton will do well this year, but that’s a huge overpay in the set-up market.

      I’m skeptical they’d have done the Marshall extension for just a set-up pitcher. I’m a huge fan of Marshall, but when he reached that deal with the Reds, I think Jocketty was spending for a cheap closer not an expensive set-up guy, and I praised him for it at the time – in fact I called him visionary for finding a set-up guy who could close so the Reds would do the closer thing on the cheap after the Cordero contract.

      • @Steve Mancuso: the only thing that throws this off is that they then went and got madson in the same offseason. i agree, marshall to close was a good move, but it wasn’t really the move they made.

      • But suppose they DID decide on Chapman as closer-to-be, but bought Madson as a relatively cheap (vs. Coco’s megabucks) insurance policy in case Chappy didn’t end up finding the strike zone without a GPS?

        Agreed with you on why Walt & Co. splurged on Marshall, but Sean’s never been built to close, and his being forced into a high-priced set-up guy is just one of the reasons the Redlegs became a more substantial,classy and fully-appointed luxury play-off bound item. I’m sure Walt’s fine with taking credit for that move by now…@Steve Mancuso:

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        Maybe I’m just in a mood after listening to the Reds lose 16-0 today.

        I feel your pain Steve. I know it’s ST and I know the pitching stats in AZ simply do not translate once some humidity is added to the air, but I’m getting a little bit antsy. Every starter crashed and burned in their start or was nearly incapacitated by a sharp line drive back through the middle. The starters have one start left in ST efore they begin playing for all the marbles. When do we start pounding on the padded walls?

        • @al: Oh, & BTW, Hoover had 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB & 2 SO again today. I really hope WJ and deal couple of RP (Ondruzek, Simon or Parra) before opening day and add Hoover to the 25 man roster. If they don’t move 2 RP, I’m afraid Hoover geta shipped to the Bats.

        • @Shchi Cossack: which is just more evidence to support the point of this post. if they would have made the decision to make him a reliever BEFORE making all of their offseason moves, they wouldn’t be having the roster crunch that they are now.

        • @al: @al: This is the best reply I’ve read in a while! Well done! I am starting to get antsy about the pitching as well – it seems they should be getting dailed in but they’re getting bombed.

          I sure hope Hoover makes the 25 man. He deserves it.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Oh, ok, I understand now, Steve. Yes, from that perspective, then yes, it would be a waste of money. But, your first words you started that with, “If the Reds had. . .”. You can’t rely on “if”. For, I could also say “If Chapman had blown his shoulder out” or “If Cueto died in a car accident”. “If” would make it a wsste of money, yes. But, it didn’t happen, maybe not even a consideration 2 years ago.

      • @immaculateconcepcion: You’re probably right that it’s a little bit of piling on. Maybe I’m just in a mood after listening to the Reds lose 16-0 today. I do think you miss my point, though, which is an entirely new one. I’m saying that if the Reds had decided to make Chapman the closer two years ago, they wouldn’t have signed the Madson contract and certainly the Broxton extension. I think Broxton will do well this year, but that’s a huge overpay in the set-up market. I’m skeptical they’d have done the Marshall extension for just a set-up pitcher. I’m a huge fan of Marshall, but when he reached that deal with the Reds, I think Jocketty was spending for a cheap closer not an expensive set-up guy, and I praised him for it at the time – in fact I called him visionary for finding a set-up guy who could close so the Reds would do the closer thing on the cheap after the Cordero contract.

        I think with the actions of this franchise since Mr. Castinline took over that this is not your Marge of Linder Reds. He has shown that he is willing to spend whatever is needed to best put this franchise in a place to win, so I don’t think money is an issue now like it use to be. you dont spend like they are if it is.

  3. Would you cry babies please give it a rest and shut the &*%!*$ up. chapman is the closer. I am glad we have Marshall and Broxton. We have a terrific bullpen. We have a very good rotation. If you don’t like it, go root for the Cardinals. My God. you are like a bunch of 12 year olds. I know that Walt and Dusty have no where near the baseball saavy that you guys have. After all you played all the way to B league. How about rooting for the Reds and supporting them, and quit sounding like children.

    • @bigklu18: going out on a limb here, but it seems like the person who can’t engage in a civil conversation is usually the one acting like a child.

      also, does it really make any sense to visit a website intentionally and then tell the people that maintain it to not post content? it’s not like steve is in your house. traditionally if you are being driven mad by a website, you stop visiting.

    • Hey, Klu, I think we’re with ya here, big fella. Let’s let Chappy close like the freakin’ Hammer of God that he is and enjoy the ride!@bigklu18:

  4. marshall i’m ok with. madson and broxton were both contracts that didn’t need to happen if chapman was going to be a reliever.

    never trying chapman as a starter after he showed promise in two consecutive springs seems stupid no matter what. but i agree, if they were just going to cave to dusty in the end anyway, why not just get it over and spend some money on a bat, or another starter better than leake or bronson.

    • @al: On the Marshall contract, spending $5.5 and $6.5 million for a premier set-up guy seems more reasonable in a world of a $105 million payroll (which they have in 2013 and probably larger next year) than with an $80 million payroll (which they had when they signed the extension). Of course, the more he gets treated like a LOOGY, the more it takes away his value.

      • @Steve Mancuso: i can see the argument that it was a bit of an overpay for marshall, but he’s averaged 2.2 wins since conversion to relief work, so i don’t feel terrible about it.

  5. Al. there are prop[le who visit this site and have really good insights. Everybody is not a crybaby. I enjoy those views as I am sure you do. But, there comes a point where it becomes where absolutely ridiculous to beat a dead horse. I am sure you make very solid points quite often. I have been watching the Reds since the early 50’s. guess what, I have not always agreed with everything they have done. I cried when they traded Big Klu and Frank Robinson. But, I am still supporting them and will till I am a goner.Sorry about the people screwup in the opening sentence.

    • @bigklu18: i hear you, and i’d wager that most people who post here are reds fans til death.

      my suggestion to you: if you don’t want to read people talking about the chapman decision, a reds forum less than a week after the decision is made is probably not where you want to be. there are no regular season games to discuss, and this is clearly one of the major developments to this season.

      i still want to talk about it, so i guess i’m just defending my right to do so, as long as i’m doing it reasonably.

      • @Chad Dotson: BOOM. I logged on just because he succeeded at trolling so well. In response to his complaints, most, if not all, of the people who regularly post here have very civil discussions, even if we disagree. If you don’t like it leave. Although it looks like this came a bit late for you.

  6. I must admit I’m suffering a little from Chapman fatigue. I think there is a decent chance if the Reds had done the correct thing and actually gave Chapman a real chance to start, Chapman would probably be the “closer” by now anyway.

    And I’m a firm believer in sunk costs being irrelevant, the only real issue I have w/the Reds spending habits up there is Broxton’s contract. The Marshall contract was a decent deal, I don’t think he was ever really intended to be a closer, just a last resort.

  7. This does not relate to the post: but did anyone listen to the game today? I’m just curious if Bailey was up in the zone or what was going on, since he sort of got shellac’d.

    I admit I was wrong about him last year, and I’m hoping it wasn’t a fluke. Last year, I felt like he got up in the zone too much early in the year, and when he finally came into his own, he started throwing down and out more. Hoping, he doesn’t come into this season back up again.

    • @Zach: I listened to the first two-thirds of the game. Marty was calling it without Cowboy, so there was little detail about the pitching. Homer said after the game that he feels fine and that’s all that really matters. I can’t see Homer backing up. He might not improve (meaning extending his second half last year to the entire year this year), but I can’t see him regressing. If you look at the underlying stats, he’s been pretty consistent the past two or three seasons.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I think it was a FanGraphs article I read that noted he’s basically been the same pitcher for ~2 seasons, but last year was a better BABIP for him. I was monitoring the FanGraphs PitchFX for him last year, and the beginning of the season his fastball was a vast majority of his pitches and they seemed to be mostly over the heart of the plate. Towards the end of the season, his pitch slection changed and the sides of the plate became his hot spots.

        I hope he doesn’t regress, as you expect. I just wonder what happens if he gets hit hard at the beginning of the season, and then goes back to fastball first mentality. But… I’m not the pitching coach and I certainly have no insight into what he’s thinking; it’s just something I’ve been thinking about since spring training started. Cheers for the reply, Steve.

  8. here’s another chapman point that i feel like is not made enough: the best time for them to have moved chapman to the rotation was not this year or last year, it was 2011.

    the previous year was when he had started in AAA and then pitched some innings with the big league club. He threw a total of 108 in the regular season, so he should have been ready to step up to 150 the next year. this would have been an exact implementation of the “david price” plan. david price 2012 cy young.

    but dusty and ownership got attached to him being in the pen. during that year bailey and cueto were both injured, bronson had a 5.07 ERA, volquez 5.71. the reds also got 38 mediocre to bad starts from travis wood, chad reineke, matt maloney, sam lecure, and dontrelle willis.

    is there anyone out there that thinks it would have been a bad idea to see what chapman could have done in place of some of that crap?

    i mention it because it fits with the larger theme of this post, which is that the reds have been going back and forth on chapman for a long time, and making a decision one way or another years ago would have probably made this years team better.

    • @al: Actually, what you’re saying makes perfect sense. 2011 would have been a great time to let him start a few games.

      • @LWBlogger: And remember, Cueto was hurt in spring training. All that needed to happed was for Chapman to start spring training getting stretched out to possibly start. When Cueto went down he would have become the spot starter instead of LeCure, Maloney, and on and on.

        If he had succeeded, even a moderately since those guys set a low bar, then the Reds could have built on that. If he had failed, back to the pen. Then you don’t need to sign Madson and later Broxton, and you can use that money on upgrades elsewhere.

  9. I know it’s spring training and doesn’t mean much.. so I won’t get worked up over the 9-18 record.. but when can we start worrying about the continued RISP struggles from the past, and the fact that the five starters have a combined 23 starts for 80.1 innings and given up 53 ER? Aren’t pitchers supposed to be ahead of batters at this time of year? They’re getting absolutely pounded game in and game out it seems.

  10. The entire argument that Chapman should start requires one of two things…
    1) That emotional discipline and mental attentiveness is not a requirement of MLB starting pitchers
    2) Chapman is mentally and emotionally mature enough for the job.

    I think the kid is not ready for prime time from the heart and head, not arm.
    That and he still has but two viable pitches……

    • @localboy: I don’t know if I agree with that. Aren’t people always saying Closers are the ones with all the pressure, requires nerves of steel and such?

      Who gets more attention/spotlight that could be considered “ready for prime time”.. a closer, or a 5th starter? Who had more pressure and attention last year? Chapman as the closer who carried a 0.00 ERA for that long period of time with the entire stadium cheering when he came onto the field, or Mike Leake as the 5th starter that nobody expects much of anything from? I’m not buying that the reason he can’t be a starter is mental/emotional.

      • @ToddAlmighty: In all fairness, throwing heat for one inning is far less mentally and emotionally challenging than facing the rotation three or more times. His game plan is pretty simple and rarely changes with the game.

        The nerves of steel moniker among closers usually comes with big playoff wins.

        Is it fair to include off field conduct and maturity ?

      • @ToddAlmighty: I’m with you on this one. The idea that relief pitching is for juvenile “head cases” but starting is for the mature big boys is a bit much. That’s a straw I cannot grasp. I don’t think it’s more complicated than the people in charge were afraid of change and made a decision they were most comfortable with. If we’re going to toss about emotional reasons why Chapman can’t start, why not start with Dusty’s inflexibility and apparent need for decision free bullpen management. Scoreboard says “X” He goes Chapman. Scoreboard says “Y” he goes to whoever needs some work. Easy-peasy. Security blanket indeed.

        Guessing at players’ emotional make-up and its actual impact on play is sketchy territory. Drives me nuts. If BP were to go into a funk, people would be back on the “he’s a hot-dog, immature guy” train. Lord help us where people would go if Joey Votto didn’t get on base like a demon. “Guy’s a jerk. Too quiet, doesn’t lead. He needs to loosen up.”

        • @Matt WI: Yes, Todd, we agree pitching in the bigs is just that, big boy stuff.
          I tread on the personal issue with care, yet, it seems Dusty is fair game and Chapman gets the pass. Consider your post.

          Without stooping to the personal stuff, which I started, I attempt to find a rational explanation that does not involve Dusty’s insecurities. My money is Chapman has less self discipline than does Dusty, we know they both have talent.

          Will Chapman be a Red in two years ?

        • @localboy: I’m pretty sure Dusty simply is the answer. Give me a reason why Stubbs got 493 AB rather than Heisey/Paul. Give me a reason why Cairo and Willie Harris got almost 200 AB rather than anyone. Literally, any major league player. It’d be hard for them to do worse than they did last year. Why did the Reds best offensive player and starting pitcher in 2012 spring training both not get jobs at those spots? Instead you got a minor leaguer and a closer who can only sometimes close on back-to-back days, and never three in a row.

          You take away my ability to make Dusty be the reason, and suddenly there’s no reason for a lot of things that the Reds do. So that’s simply an unfair request.


          As for Chapman, he’ll either be traded at the deadline this year, or in the offseason next year in my estimation. They have three closers under plump contracts right now, and also Hoover who has looked outstanding. If Chapman is rocking a 1 ERA or so around the trade deadline, don’t be surprised if he gets traded. Hard to get his trade value any higher.

          If they’re not going to make him a starting pitcher, which he clearly won’t ever be in Cincinnati, then he’s worth more in a trade than on the mound.

        • @ToddAlmighty: The reason Stubbs got all that extra love is because he has superior speed and works at it. It did not work and he got replaced by someone with a track record of getting on base in front of the sticks.
          I will give you Heissey deserves more, but Paul…..He played because Dusty put him in ?
          Cairo and Valdez were on the roster, blame Walt for that…and he corrected that mistake.
          Trade….good idea. In two years he plays elsewhere, do you doubt that ? Do you really think he has any loyalty to the Reds or that the Reds can pay him a 100 million without jeopardizing proven players ?
          From my seat the only way the Reds keep him is as a closer. Starting is blue sky, closing is a proven fact.

        • @localboy: I can see where I wasn’t all that clear in my post, but I put out that stuff about Dusty to prove the point that it’s unfair to blame personal issues on some of the decision making on either side of the case… not necessarily to make a point that it was all Dusty’s fault. At least with Dusty we have the track record of decisions that seem to form a pattern, which makes it at least a bit more rational than saying Chapman is too immature. Regardless, it’s over and done.

        • @Matt WI: And don’t forget “He’s a head-case!! Anxiety disorder? Whimp!!!” Yes, I actually saw that on more than one forum.

  11. It’s time to give the Chapman angst a rest. The points for him starting have been well articulated—and Steve’s assessment is probably spot-on—but there’s nothing any of us can do to change the fact that Chapman is back in the pen. Continuing to pick that scab won’t do any of us any good.

    Who knows, come July he may be moved to the rotation and the Reds will be set up for a nice post-season run. It could happen.

    • @I-71_Exile: It will happen…..the Reds will be set up for the post season run. It will

      Walt has a good roster, the owners have spent the money. Dusty is competent….and Walt took the geriatrics from him. Its set up now.

  12. To cure your blues, check out how great the bullpen was last year and how likely it is to be great again this year.

  13. I’ll add a cure for the blues… si.com has their predictions out for the season. Five of 7 writers picked Joey MVP to be the MVP again. And I think all but one picked the good guys to win the division. Let’s play some ball!

  14. Good editors or RNA, will you please let the Chapman thing die? We get it, it was a bad decision for many many MANY reasons, but making a shopping list of all those reasons day after day is redundant. We get it, really we do.

    But please, enough. It is bordering on whining now.

    I thought this site was called ‘REDLEG’ Nation, not ‘CHAPMAN’ Nation. The season is about to begin, surely there are other things we could be discussing than this dead, beaten, bloated, maggot-infested, stinking horse?

  15. Based upon the ZIPs projections in the previous article, the Reds starting pitching (Leake & Arroyo) just might struggle even without injury. If this proves to be the case, it would be easier to move Chapman to the rotation from the bullpen and still have him available for the playoffs than having him start from the beginning of the season. I’m not giving up hope yet that Chapman won’t be starting sometime this year. If he doesn’t, it means the rotation held up all year again, which would not be all bad either.

    • @MikeC: What is it about this manager and organization that tells you they would move quickly (or at all) to replace a non-injured struggling player.

    • @MikeC: I’d like to think that, too, and if they’d said he’d start the season “in the bullpen”, maybe they could use him like they did early last year, when he’d pitch multiple innings.

      But they named him “closer”. One-inning pitcher. So any conversion would take longer, and part of it would probably have to happen in Louisville. The chances of that happening probably start with a decimal point and many zeroes.

  16. Ah, the last big snowstorm of the spring has come and gone and I woke this morning to find the snowman from that storm collapsed last night. It was a silent passing for the snowman, no resounding crash or even a big thud, but with it came a personal passing of the Chapman saga. It is what it is and life goes on.

    Opening day is less than a week away. Ludwick is showing signs of regaining his hitting stroke. Choo is back in CF. Both Latos and Arroyo seem to have dodged potential disaster. Has anyone noticed that Cozart is now hitting a robust .313 and has an OBP (.377) that rivals Choo (.389)?

    Broxton, Chapman, Hoover & LeCure have pitched absolutely lights out. Marshall & Arredondo have pitched effectively, but need to get out of AZ so their breaking pitches actually break in order to excel along with the aforementioned relievers. Parra, Ondrusek & Simon have not been effective from the bullpen and with less than a week until opening day, something needs to shake out regarding the bullpen decision.

    The injury to Donald has made the battle for the last utility IF position even more interesting. The Reds must make a decision regarding Olivo today, but I think that decision has already been made, just not announced.

    The last snowman passed quietly last night and brought a little more perspective with its demise. It’s time to start focusing on baseball between the lines.

  17. I think Dusty should make Joey Votto the featured pinch hitter. Would he not be the best guy off the bench? It would also make sure he stays healthy. Boy with Joey pinch hitting and Aroldis out of the bullpen the Reds would be set!

  18. What are the odds that the organization has a top secret plan for Aroldis the Starter and they simply are keeping the cards glued to the vest? Since Chappy is already stretched out, they could bring him in for 2 inning save situations, perhaps if the reds have a 2 or 3 run lead going into the 8th inning. This would allow him to throw roughly 25-45 pitches and keep him moderately stretched for a few months. Once late June comes around, the transition could be gradual, maybe 5 innings a start or a short leash on the pitch count. I know it seems extreme, but Walt has noted that Broxton will be filling in when Chapman is “not available.”

    • What are the odds that the organization has a top secret plan for Aroldis the Starter and they simply are keeping the cards glued to the vest?Since Chappy is already stretched out, they could bring him in for 2 inning save situations, perhaps if the reds have a 2 or 3 run lead going into the 8th inning.This would allow him to throw roughly 25-45 pitches and keep him moderately stretched for a few months.Once late June comes around, the transition could be gradual, maybe 5 innings a start or a short leash on the pitch count.I know it seems extreme, but Walt has noted that Broxton will be filling in when Chapman is “not available.”

      Very low. Fay had an article the other day asking Dusty if they were going to use Chapman creatively, and even posed a hypo to Dusty: say on Opening Day, Johnny Cueto goes seven innings and leaves with a 3-2 lead. Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trumbo are due up for Los Angeles in the eighth inning–would Dusty consider thorwing Chapman then, with the best hitters in the lineup batting (no idea why Fay didn’t leadoff with Trout instead of finishing with Trumbo).

      Dusty responded: “The eighth is sometimes tougher than the ninth…But the only way I could see Chapman pitching in the eighth in the aforementioned scenario is if it were to face Hamilton with two outs.”

      Now think about how difficult it is to create a situation where he’d bring it Chapman in the 8th. Like, 3 lefties in a row?

      Chapman is a 9th inning closer only. The Manager has pretty much abdicated his personal judgment on when/which relievers should be used.

      • @CharlotteReds:
        This is my hope as well. I’ve dubbed it the rope-a-dope plan.

        @CP:
        However, this is the likely outcome.

        While it’s not a disaster, it is less than optimal.

    • I like CharlotteReds idea, but as CP should in the quotes by Dusty, not going to happen (the 2 inning save.) I know Dusty loves him some 9th inning only closer, but the addition of Broxton on the roster should make it fairly easy to manage co-closers, one of whom comes in during the 8th inning.

      I think the bigger pet peeve of mine is the extra inning tie games on the road. Baker will keep his closer (and in Chapman’s case, his best reliever) out of the game, waiting for the team to take the lead so he can use his closer in a save situation.

      Unfortunately, this whole Chapman decision (both his role and his usage) is in line with Baker’s managing mentality…Baker plays to not lose instead of playing to win.

      • @Greg Dafler: The owner plays to win, the GM plays to win and Dusty plays to win. They all have a proven record of winning, period. Chapman’s fastball does not trump all those years of winning by the three wise men in our organization.
        Dusty’s style irks me too, but the fact is he wins.

        We finished first last year, show me where Dusty’s decisions in the playoffs cost us anything. Dusty rolled the players onto the field just like he did all season long, the players did not get the job done.

        I stand with the proven winners, even though I wanted to see Chapman start. My personal feelings are subordinate to the three wise men who KNOW the facts.

        • The only argument I may have with the post is regarding Marshall’s contract. I think he would have still been signed and I think it’s money well spent. Very few RP have been so consistent and even fewer of them throw with the left arm. A small argument could be made about the Madsen contract because I don’t know if the Reds really knew Chapman could find the plate enough to be the closer. The reason I say this is that when Madson went down, Marshall was the closer for a while. Chapman was being used creatively. Once Marshall struggled some, mostly due to bad luck, and with Chapman consistently finding the plate, Chapman was named the closer.

          @localboy: I agree with you for the most part. In my opinion though, Dusty probably should have thrown Latos and Bailey on short rest in the NLDS rather than having Leake start game 4. Leake was cold and his command was off.

        • @LWBlogger: Fair point on the starting pitcher.
          Dusty irks me too, yet that decision was consistent with how he operates. Myself, a little more Frazier and a lot less Valdez.

          I honestly believe our Reds, under the management of Dusty, can and will win the WS. From my view its more of a players game than managers, more of a player / coach game than managers. Our players continue to grow, each and every one of them. Those that cant grow and continuously improve are replaced by those who can.

          I’m all in !

        • @localboy: I don’t agree that Dusty has a proven record of winning. A .517 winning percentage over 5 years and no playoff wins, with above-average talent, doesn’t indicate a proven record of winning to me.

        • @mlb: Thank you, I was just about to type that up myself when I saw your reply. 2 winning seasons out of 5.. one with the MVP, and the other with the best bullpen/second best starting rotation in the league. He can win regular season games if you give him an above-average team (at a .517 rate). But even with that team he can’t win in the playoffs. In 19 seasons, he has 1 pennant win, 0 world series wins.

          Not a proven record of winning.

        • @mlb: I call the last 5 years winning. Our Reds have solidified themselves in the top tier. Chapman starting or closing is not the difference between playoff wins and losses.

    • @CharlotteReds: Hey another fan from Charlotte!

      After a 16-0 drubbing, I get why some need to vent and the Chapman debacle is the perfect vehicle.

      That said, it sure would be nice for the Reds to play some all-around good ball the last few games of ST. Not worried yet but I am scratching my head a little.

    • @CharlotteReds:

      What are the odds that the organization has a top secret plan for Aroldis the Starter and they simply are keeping the cards glued to the vest?Since Chappy is already stretched out, they could bring him in for 2 inning save situations, perhaps if the reds have a 2 or 3 run lead going into the 8th inning.This would allow him to throw roughly 25-45 pitches and keep him moderately stretched for a few months.Once late June comes around, the transition could be gradual, maybe 5 innings a start or a short leash on the pitch count.I know it seems extreme, but Walt has noted that Broxton will be filling in when Chapman is “not available.”

      The only problem with this thinking is a) it would require Dusty to think outside the box and b) he’s already said (last Sunday’s Enquirer, I believe it was) that Chapman will be his one inning closer.

  19. I agree that we have a bullpen issue now. and our 2 long men are better than our 5th stater.

    I think Simon should be stretched out immediately. He was better than Leake last year and I would like to see more of him and less of Leake. Same for LeCure.

    Those guys are battlers, and Leake has options and may be a better swing starter.

    We will see how his “best he ever looked stuff” is about inning 5 this year. He has a good first time through the rotation, then he is very marginal

    • @reaganspad: Right you are. Sam was every bit better than 2012 Leake, but he wasn’t as good as 2011 Leake. So I would concur on the course of action with LeCure or even Champman again if 2012 Leake is back and the next best ‘starter’ is Cingrani or trying to sign Oswalt.

    • @reaganspad: Isn’t there a reason why Alfredo Simon and Sam LeCure both gave up on starting to become relievers? I don’t think the reason is because they were very successful as starters. They’ve both excelled in the bullpen but it’s silly to argue that they are therefore better than the Reds’ 5th starter.

  20. A lot of good points raised on this thread. Kudos to Steve for making an initial point that recycled a subject that people seemed to have tired of prematurely.

    If not 65 million, everyone can agree that the Reds indecision has cost an tens of millions of dollars at least, right? Broxton could have been had for a shorter period or cut lose altogether. Closer talk with Marshall escalated his re-signing too – that is well documented.

    Yes, the Reds have a great pen (will best in MLB even be debated?) but I would take Broxton’s contract in a heartbeat for and extra year of Choo (and perhaps a lower payroll overall)

    Steve, although small by comparison, I would add Parra’s contract to your list.

    • @rightsaidred: I don’t think the Reds are in the top 3 in the NL: Nats, Braves, and Phillies are better in my opinion. The Cards & Giants are right there too, particularly if Cards can get Motte back anytime soon, or Brian Wilson returns this year.

      Perhaps the Reds are top 5 in MLB, though it’s arguable. Yanks and even the Royals are arguably better. And then you start looking at the Rays & Tigers…

      Truth be told, a good bullpen is relatively easy to put together and there is very little separation between good bullpens and great bullpens. But then again…bullpens are notoriously fickle. I think we all remember years where the Reds went into the season expected to have a great bullpen, only to see it fall apart.

      • @CP: I’ve been pretty entertained reading these posts today, but in going to have to stop you there. With all their injuries, the Yanks aren’t better than anyone.

      • @CP:
        I live in the philly area and people are optimistic about Howard and Utley being healthy and having Brown with a strong spring. Horst is projected as the 8th inning guy (where they had problems last yeer).

        But, I want to see how they play before saying they are better than the Reds. Too many what-ifs that need to go their way right now to elevate them to a top-5 NL team.

        • @Lost and Found: Sorry for the confusion. My post was focused on Bullpen ONLY.

          Good teams usually have good bullpens, but bad teams sometimes do too (Yanks, Royals). The Phillies are somewhere in between.

          The Reds have a good bullpen, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as Reds’ media/fan websites believe. The Reds bullpen greatest strength last year was the starting rotation went deep into games. Dusty did his best to wear down the key players though.

        • @CP: I just checked the replies; sorry for the delayed response.

          Chapman, Broxton (from the Royals), Marshall, LeCure, Hoover would be my top 5 and those 5 are better than the Braves, Phillies or Royals taken as a whole. (The Giants pen only looked great when they had a starter eating innings and even playing the set up during the post season.)

          The others that may round out a pen are far less important and so while I would concede that some combination of Arrendondo/Parra/Simon/etc. pales in comparison to the ‘bottom’ of the pen of those others – it matters far less.

  21. Steve, I know you really like Chapman as a starter, but your beating a dead horse. Get over it already, I normally really like your articles, but reading about chapman to the pen and how much you don’t like it everyday is getting old. Fact: Chapman ISN’T a starter, yes he has a great fastball and a plus slider (when he can get it over the plate, which is only about 50% of the time) and only a league average changeup. But we saw last year that he cant go three innings in three days and keep that fastball, and i don’t care if it still is 95mph if an MLB hitter know a flat fastball at 95 is coming, they will hit it. Just because a pitcher was a starter in the minors, or in Cuba, does not mean he can do it at the MLB level, and I am sorry but Chapman cant, not at an elite level. He is best where he is now, with Broxten ready to take over to give Chapman a breather from time to time.

    • @tiberius3108: Seriously, if you’re tired of it, just skip over it to the next post. If you’re tired of it, don’t comment with “facts” (that aren’t facts) that only prolong the discussion. The difference between preparing to pitch one inning three days in a row vs. 7-9 innings is vast. Chapman has started before. Chapman has been the best starter for the Reds the past two spring trainings, including a five-inning start against Milwaukee last year. The “fact” is that we simply don’t know. That’s why we should have tried it, to really find out. Chapman’s incremental value to the bullpen is pretty small compared to what he might have offered above and beyond Mike Leake.

      • @Steve Mancuso: If you are familiar with Chris Hardwick’s nerdist podcast, he often talks about the amount of complaints he gets over the volumes of free content he generates. It’s pretty entertaining. :D

        • @Steve Mancuso: If you are familiar with Chris Hardwick’s nerdist podcast, he often talks about the amount of complaints he gets over the volumes of free content he generates.It’s pretty entertaining.

          Exactly. Send me your address if you are dissatisfied and I’ll send a full refund.

    • @tiberius3108: Also seriously, mine will be the 74th response on this post (unless someone slips one in while I’m typing), so obviously some folks still haven’t exorcised those demons. And while admittedly the Chap-talk has invaded non-Chap-related posts, this one had his name in the title and everything. So easy to skip over it if you’re truly tired of the topic.

      Not to mention that telling people *not* to talk about something is so… declasse.

  22. The Dusty tax came early this year. One of the “unenlightened” posters mentioned Dusty did nothing to lose the NLDS. I beg to differ. Baker managed with ZERO sense of urgency in Games 3 and 4, when aggressive, timely managing could’ve put the pressure on the Giants and caused them to crack. Bruce Bochy managed his arse off in those games. Dusty’s thoughs seemed to be ….. chew on pick…… “well…..all we have to do is win 1 of these 3 games…” chew on pick.

    Does Dusty have a “winning” record? Yes, he’s basically a .500 manager, career-wise. Problem is he’s had above-average teams in SF, Chicago, and Cincy, and has absolutely no post-season success to show for it. Baker is set in his ways, and is not creative nor aggressive in his approach. Face it Reds fans, if Jocketty could convince LaRussa to come out of retirement and manage the Reds, it’d be the greatest thing that happened to the ballclub.

  23. Moving Chapman to the pen instead of daring to let him realize potential dominance as a starter is weak-minded, conservative, and is not the way to get the team to the WS. Chapman had no influence over the NLDS last year. Imagine still having Chapman in the rotation after Cueto got hurt, allowing the Reds to pitch Latos, Bailey, and Chapman? That my friends, is a recipe for moving on in the Postseason. Arroyo and Leake are finesse guys suited to #5 starters or AAA call-ups. They’re not legitimate, upper-end rotation guys, nor will they ever be. When Leake goes 7-13 with a near 5 ERA, this move will look all the more foolish.

  24. And the ultimate blunder happened when he didn’t force Bochy to either pull Romo or use his last bench guy. That came back to haunt the team in the end. The manager doesn’t win or lose many games, but Dusty minimizes his teams chance to be successful in seemingly the worst times.

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