Aroldis Chapman is going to start. Via Fay:

“We’re finalizing plans right now,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “He’ll gradually build up his innings. He’ll pitch two or three innings to start. Eventually, we’ll get him up to five innings.”

Chapman will spend about a month in Winter Ball.

“That will give him time to rest before spring training,” Jocketty said.

This is fantastic news. I don’t know how many innings he’ll get next year, but my guess is somewhere around 150.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 52 Comments

  1. Not to same I believe them, but I will believe it when I see it. I find it hard to believe we will see Chapman in any significant starting role next season with the major league club.

  2. Better late than never? I’ll ask why this wasn’t done in September only because I’m tired of asking why this wasn’t done 8 months ago.

    • Better late than never? I’ll ask why this wasn’t done in September only because I’m tired of asking why this wasn’t done 8 months ago.

      If the Cincinnati media were doing it’s job, that would be the million dollar question. There is no reason why Chapman shouldn’t have been getting starts in September. They could have easily piggy-backed Willis (or anybody, for that matter) to pick up the inning that Chapman couldn’t go yet.

  3. Dusty won’t want to play him because he hasn’t done it before.

  4. Agree its about time they did this. I partially understand what the Reds did in 2010, to have Chapman handy for the playoffs but then he should have been trying to win a starter spot in Sprng traing 2011 this year and if not ready, then getting more experience back at AAA with a Sept callup to build up his innings.

    Kind of crowded right now for rotation candidates for 2012. Cueto, Bronson, Leake, Homer, Chapman, Wood, maybe Volquez, with Maloney, Lecure as depth. If reds make a trade for a top-end rotation guy, then probably a couple of these more than likely are going to involved(one of Homer/Leake and one of Wood/Volquez ???). or maybe not. it will be interesting to see what Walt can make happen, if anything.

  5. Finally

  6. @brm7675: Be less grumpy man. 95% of the world sees this as a good idea, and perhaps the Reds finally do too. This is good, roll with it. Short of an injury between now and then, why else would Price say something like that?

  7. Er, Jockety, not Price, which is even better. He’s beaten Dusty to the public relations punch now.

  8. I truly love this move. They have not over worked a young arm, given the player a chance to acclimate to a new environment and now have given him major league experience. Let’s hope that Chapman will excel in his role next year and that Dusty doesn’t over work the kid.
    Just imagine Cueto, a stud we traded for, Leake, Arroyo, and Chapman? Kinda like it

    • I truly love this move.They have not over worked a young arm, given the player a chance to acclimate to a new environment and now have given him major league experience.Let’s hope that Chapman will excel in his role next year and that Dusty doesn’t over work the kid.
      Just imagine Cueto, a stud we traded for, Leake, Arroyo, and Chapman?Kinda like it

      I like it except the Arroyo part

    • Just imagine Cueto, a stud we traded for, Leake, Arroyo, and Chapman?Kinda like it

      If that is the starting rotation, and that’s a big IF, then CoCo should be cut loose, Bailey should close, and Boxberger set up.

  9. This is good news. Curious to see who his teammates are this winter.

    • This is good news. Curious to see who his teammates are this winter.

      Are you insinuating that he will be traded or the Reds will be trading for ML players?

      • Are you insinuating that he will be traded or the Reds will be trading for ML players?

        No, he is insuating that the winter league teams are generally a hodgepodge of players from different organizations.

  10. If this was the plan, then the plan was stupid. If they envisioned him as a starter; they should have never changed him midseason in L’Ville to the pen. To bring him to the pen in September would have made sense, but to keep him in the pen for a year and a half is a waste of development. Now, they will have to shut him down early so they don’t run him too many innings. Yet another example of a shortsighted aspect of the Reds front office.

  11. @Ethan D: Arroyo was not healthy this year, I expect his typical 215 IP with stretches of good games like he has done most of his career next season.

  12. Price was lobbying hard and publicly for Chapman to be moved to the starting rotation. Better late than never. The main and obvious thing with Chapman is that he needs to improve his command, I think this will help.

    Other good news: Boxberger was dominant in his first AFL outing, striking out all 4 batters he faced.

  13. Do we need to get another LH for the bullpen now to back fill for Chapman, or do will fill that spot with one of Horst/Wood/Maloney?

  14. The next move is to move Volquez to the pen. Get him to embrace the role now and see if he can be our closer next year.

    • The next move is to move Volquez to the pen. Get him to embrace the role now and see if he can be our closer next year.

      Absolutely. My offseason will be ruined the day they announce the Cordero contract. I don’t see how that doesn’t blow up in their faces and torpedo the first half of the season. Between Volquez, Arredondo, Ondrusek, Masset, and a free agent, we will find a pitcher who can hold down the 9th until Boxberger is ready in mid-season. Giving Cordero a single dollar is fear-based and unimaginative.

      • Sultan: My offseason will be ruined the day they announce the Cordero contract.I don’t see how that doesn’t blow up in their faces and torpedo the first half of the season.Between Volquez, Arredondo, Ondrusek, Masset, and a free agent, we will find a pitcher who can hold down the 9th until Boxberger is ready in mid-season.Giving Cordero a single dollar is fear-based and unimaginative.

        I agree, and I’ve been one of CoCo’s supporters. He had a good season in 2011 because he changed his pitching style and (until that miserable game against the Mets) was able to throw strikes. His velocity has dropped, his K rate now defines him as a “pitch to contact” pitcher, hitters will adjust.
        Spending precious money on him does not make sense. (But please not Ondrusek as the closer.)

        • I agree, and I’ve been one of CoCo’s supporters. He had a good season in 2011 because he changed his pitching style and (until that miserable game against the Mets) was able to throw strikes. His velocity has dropped, his K rate now defines him as a “pitch to contact” pitcher, hitters will adjust.
          Spending precious money on him does not make sense. (But please not Ondrusek as the closer.)

          My fear (shared by others, I’m sure) is that the struggles of Ondrusek and Masset, along with moving Chapman to the rotation, either forces us to bring back Cordero or overpay another free agent. The problem is that not enough managers and GMs are willing to target and sign or trade for non-closers to fill that role. New closers are born out of need and lack of options with closing experience, not groomed for that role (in general, there are exceptions).

  15. I love the move, but I’ll bet my right leg Chapman hits the wall hard mid-season. That’s why wasting this year was so detrimental. Better late than never, I suppose. Still, if trading Chapman is what it takes to acquire a Shields/Latos/Romero-type, I make that trade in a heartbeat because I have serious reservations he’ll find the command to be a reliable starter. Flashes of complete dominance? Yes, but you’ll see a lot more 3 inning starts than you’ll care to as well.

  16. @Sultan of Swaff: Can we start a don’tsavecoco.com?

  17. @Matt WI: Yes, but only after we buy the firedusty.com domain.

  18. @Sultan of Swaff:
    The way things have been done recently, if the Reds fired Dusty, they would want another established name guy to replace him. Which they would surely screw up in some way. Meanwhile, the White Sox just replaced a World Series manager with a high school hitting coach. (Yes, I know the Sox havent been as good as expected in recent years, and Ozzie created a lot of problems, and that Ventura is widely respected.) I’m not sure how that is going to work out for them, but sometimes I wish we had a GM with the guts to make such bold moves. Even if they don’t work out, it would have to be better than the mind numbing status quo.

  19. @icee82: I’ve heard about that, Bailey being slow to warm up. I don’t really want him in the bullpen anyway. The hypothetical (implied by another blogger) was that he’s no longer in the starting rotation. Long man or middle relief would be a waste. If he really can’t close, and the Reds don’t have him in the starting rotation, he’s got to be traded.

  20. @Matt WI: How about nosavesforcoco.com ?

  21. Glad to see the move on Chapman. At first blush it looks like there is a logjam for the starting rotation in 2012. But I expect one or more of our current starters will be traded to acquire a better SP – like Shields.

    The Rays and the Reds really match up well for a trade. Their biggest gaps are 1B and C.

  22. I don’t think the Reds will trade Alonso because they will need him for 1B in the post-Votto world, whenever that happens.

    • I don’t think the Reds will trade Alonso because they will need him for 1B in the post-Votto world, whenever that happens.

      I agree that is the mindset. But wouldn’t that mean that without an extension, Votto will be traded after next season at the latest, before his contract jumps to $19M? I don’t see any reason to hold onto a (presumably) hot prospect like Alonso for 2 years, at which point he would be a pretty old first time starter, and would cut into his development as a hitter.

      • I agree that is the mindset. But wouldn’t that mean that without an extension, Votto will be traded after next season at the latest, before his contract jumps to $19M? I don’t see any reason to hold onto a (presumably) hot prospect like Alonso for 2 years, at which point he would be a pretty old first time starter, and would cut into his development as a hitter.

        Right on here…a couple of things people forget (can’t see the forest for the trees scenario):

        1) Votto is one of the best players in baseball. And folks want to deal him for prospects? It’s not a fantasy baseball game…one impact player has far more value than four players that we hope contribute one WARP.

        2) Yonder is still not a sure thing. Yes, he had an impressive call up. But, how many folks realized that Alonso hit .143 from September 11 through the end of the season with a .476 OPS? Yes, he had an injury…but he still appeared in 15 games during that time. His major league OPS in 2010 was .483, very similar to his slumping OPS. Yes…it was a small sample size, but his hot streak was also a small sample. His career major league OPS is .833 with a .299 BA, .354 OBP, and .479 OPS. I don’t think that’s too far off what he will project for next season. That’s a good player, not a great player.

        3) The Reds expected Alonso to be big leaguer within 2-3 years. Who says the Reds can’t draft another college player-pro ready first baseman now? Or, Grandal/Mesoraco could play first and hit similarly to Alonso if needed in a couple of years.

        4) Alonso has trade value NOW…more than last year and probably less than next year when he’s 25.

        5) Winning now makes fans come to ballpark which makes Votto more affordable in the future. The PIE can GROW…with wins.

  23. @Steve Mancuso: I have to quibble with your last two posts. First, while I agree the Rays and Reds match up well, the Rays biggest problem is at SS, where they gave over 250 plate appearances to Brignac, who posted an OPS+ of 29. The Reds can’t help them there. It was striking, though, to see in the postseason that Damon batted fifth and Shoppach sixth, and Shoppach is terrible. The Reds can help there. Damon was adequate (110 OPS+) as a DH, but the Rays must be looking to get rid of him as he made 5.2M. At first, Kotchman has an unbelievable year actually, a 128 OPS+, but the Rays may see that as a fluke, they are a rational organization. I certainly would.

    As for not trading Alonso, I just don’t think the Rays and Reds will make any trade if Alonso is not involved. That allows the Rays to get insurance on Kotchman, and, if Kotchman turns out not to be a fluke, Alonso gives them a better option at DH than they would otherwise have. Frankly, the Rays don’t really need Shields with all the pitching they have *if* they can make the postseason (which is a tall order).

  24. The Reds need to trade any non pitcher necessary to acquire the needed upgrade to this staff. The perfect example is that the Tigers just held Tex and Arod to a .150 average with zero homers in the playoff series. It killed the vaunted Yanks chances.

    Good pitching stops good hitting. PERIOD.

  25. @George Culver: That is really ridiculous. Have you been watching the Cards/Phillies series, as excellent Cards hitters have been whipping up on the best rotation in the major leagues?

    ARod isn’t even healthy, and when healthy, he isn’t even nearly the player that he was.

    The “good pitching stops good hitting” is the oldest, most false cliche in the book.

  26. As an aside, the Cards have outplayed the Phillies, clearly, in their series. Only bad luck in game 3, as well as a critical LaRussa mistake in game 1, have prevented them from already winning this series. If LaRussa pulls Lohse for a lefty in game 1, there’s a good chance Cards win, because Howard is inept versus lefties.

    This is not just 5-game series luck. There are structural reasons why the Cards are playing the Phils so tough. They are a much better hitting team in a 5 game series, and they have a much better bullpen. And not having to pitch Westbrook helps a lot too. And in a 5 game series, Howard is one of the most overrated players around, because he’ll get at most 2 ABs per game against righties—in every one of the games that LaRussa doesn’t screw up.

  27. They are a much better hitting team in a 5 game series

    Sorry, I don’t know what this means.

  28. Oops, tried some formatting and failed.

  29. @Aaron Lehr: Sorry, I should have clarified what I meant.

    What I meant was that the key hitters for the Phillies, Rollins, Utley, and Howard, are minimized in a 5 game series. If the Phils and Cards played 162 games against each other, LaRussa couldn’t just bring in his lefty relievers every single time in the 6-9th innings to face those three guys.

    All three of them have OPSs of about .600 against left handed pitchers. That’s pathetic. In any late game scenario in which LaRussa hasn’t fallen asleep as he did in game 1, those guys shouldn’t be able to do anything at all. On the other hand, the Cards big 3 do not have splits nearly like that; Pujols and Holliday are about even, and Berkman has a large split but still hits .804 against lefties.

  30. @Dave Lowenthal: IMO it’s been the exact opposite of what you speak. The Cards pitching staff has performed in an above average fashion and kept them in every game. They’ve held on to leads that they were not doing in the regular season. It’s their pitching that has excelled and allowed their hitters not to have to press too hard. Pujols has only 1 RBI for the series. The Phils are making the other part of the lineup do the job and they have come thru. The Hammels v. Garcia game was an outstanding effort for both sides until one pitcher or the other made a mistake.

    Carpenter was not ready in the first game but the rest of the pitching staff has excellent. Which is how you have to beat the Phils, you have to pitch as good as they do. That being said I think Haliday shuts Cards down tonight so their pitchers better do the same.

  31. @George Culver: Give me a break. Pujols is 7 for 17. They’ve shut him down? You’re just making things up to fit your theory.

  32. @Dave Lowenthal:

    It goes to show how numbers can be misleading.

  33. @brm7675: Or it goes to show how some of you look at a silly stat like RBIs.

  34. @George Culver: And so your theory now is: good pitching beats good hitting, but good pitching succumbs to the poorer hitters in the lineup. Nice.

  35. @Dave Lowenthal: Oh come on Dave, good pitching ALWAYS wins. After all, look at all those WS titles the Braves won in the 90s and 00s.

    Sarcastic joking aside, studies have been done on this and, if I am remembering correctly, the only thing that seems to be extra useful in the playoffs is an excellent bullpen, and that benefit is only slight. Generally speaking, you have to be able to hit AND you have to be able to pitch. Rare is the winning team that only does one or the other.

  36. I don’t think it’s going to be difficult at all to get him “in shape” enough to start. Lets not forget he averaged around 6 IP per start as recently as 2009 in Cuba.
    The bigger problem is the long season. Which of course creates a big problem if the Reds are good and need him in the playoffs.

  37. As far as the extra lefty in the pen goes once Chapman moves to the rotation, that spot should be Arrodono’s. His splits have always been backwards. He throws like a lefty and will be another year removed from TJ. It used to infuriate me to see Dusty lift Bray/Chapman to bring in Arrondondo or vice versa. It was basically burning two pitchers for no gain.

  38. @Dave Lowenthal: I guess a 1-0 game when Carpenter out duels Halladay can be explained away? I’ll take that kind of baseball all day long for my team. Great pitching for both teams. Tip o the hat to the Cards, you have to admit that they out pitched the best staff in the National League.

  39. @George Culver: Yes, good pitching always wins, like Jason said.

    Last night, Halladay pitched great and held the Cards to one run in 8 innings.

    Let’s take last year. In the LCS, Halladay pitched against one of the worst hitting teams to ever win a world series, the Giants, and lost game 1, giving up 4 ER in 7 IP. He won game 2, giving up 2 ER in 6 IP. How did he not completely shut down the Giants?

    Sounds a lot like the regular season, Halladay is a great pitcher, but sometimes he doesn’t pitch that great. So what’s your point? That great pitchers usually pitch well? That the Reds need better pitching? Does anyone doubt that? Or, again, is it that great pitching can’t beat terrible hitting, but it can stop great hitting?

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

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