The canary in the coal mine died yesterday, March 22, 2013. Time of death: 12:41pm EST. Cause of death yet unknown. Dusty Baker has been taken in for questioning.

Whenever I walk around New York City during the work week, I’ll occasionally see an interesting sight—a large inflatable rat, fifteen or more feet in height, sitting on its haunches, kept aloft by a noisy generator. When union workers feel they’ve been disenfranchised by an employer, or a business has otherwise behaved in a way that’s deemed not in the public interest, out comes the Rat, perched on the sidewalk in front of the offending business to let the army of morning passersby know that unfair practices are taking place inside.

Show of hands: how many of you would like to see the Rat toiling away outside Great American Ballpark today?

It feels like the circus is over now. Dusty Baker circled the stage, honking his horn, pulling focus at every opportunity. It’s hard not to believe that ringmaster Castellini made the final call here. Baker was his hire, after all, months before a special assistant to the owner was named. The national media will now write a few articles about how the Reds made the right move. A few savvy baseball journalists will shake their heads in disagreement. And then everyone will move on, the circus setting up in another town, probably back in Boston or the Bronx. You couldn’t blame Walt Jocketty if he felt as if he’s been left with a shovel to clean up after the elephants.

We here in the audience won’t let the carefully scripted words fool us. The joint Walt & Dusty appearance yesterday was all colorful bunting, meant to hide the discord that is playing out somewhere backstage. Jocketty didn’t invest considerable resources, first in Madson, then in Marshall & Broxton, only to change direction because of agendas or a case of cold feet. He didn’t change course because of Mike Leake’s brilliant Spring or Chapman’s recent quotes. Lest we forget, just last Spring the young Cuban said the following in a USA Today piece:

“I’ve always been a starter since I began playing,” said the 6-4 Chapman, now a muscular 210 pounds after initially joining the club at 193. “I signed as a starter and they later moved me to the bullpen. But I’ve always wanted to be a starter and now plan to take advantage of my opportunity.”

But that was a year ago. Impressionable young men change their minds. Yet, even as recently as a few weeks ago, Chapman said the following to the AP:

“I will prepare the same way I did last year,” Chapman said, with trainer Tomas Vera translating. “I would like to start a season and throw as many innings as I can, but that’s up to the team. When I was in Cuba, I threw 150 innings. I will prepare myself to throw as many innings as they want me to throw.”

I can’t read these quotes without having Steve Mancuso “flashbulb memories” of my own, back to when I heard of Chapman’s arrest on I-71 in Grove City, again when the woman in the Pittsburgh hotel room became news, and once more while reading of the turmoil left behind in Cuba in the wake of his defection. Chapman is young, immature and maybe a bit naive. Almost certainly malleable.

Perhaps that’s the reason the Reds changed course. They looked at Chapman’s mental and emotional makeup and decided it was too risky to impose yet another big sea change on a young man who has already undergone an ocean of changes in his short 25 years.

If that’s the case, they should trade him. Another year of watching him spit sunflower seeds in the dugout, as he quietly awaits his two-run save opportunity does not further the Reds’ short or long-term goals. He’ll be far easier to trade than Broxton.  He’ll bring more in return. It’s hard not to believe there aren’t a few eager suitors in-waiting, whether they are forward thinking organizations who would love the opportunity to try to realize Chapman’s potential—or teams who are true believers in the Myth of the Closer and would love to get their hands on the next Rivera. The Mets traded R.A. Dickey and enriched their future. Dickey is no Aroldis Chapman. He’s a 37 year-old journeyman pitcher who had a dream season he’s unlikely to come close to repeating. Still, this was enough to bring GM Sandy Alderson both a stud catching and a top pitching prospect from a Blue Jay organization that sees a window of opportunity in an AL East where Boston is retooling and the Yankees are officially old and crippled. You gotta believe the Reds could command much more for A.C. than Alderson did for R.A., should they wait until say, late July, when pennant-hungry teams will swoon for the one-inning 25 year old wonder like schoolgirls after that Justin Bieber kid.

But, trading the Missile would be a bold move, and if we’ve learned anything from yesterday, it’s that the Reds still tend to eschew bold moves at critical moments. Now, we’re left to consider the wave that’s coming after yesterday’s quake.

The pressure is now on young Leake. Should he get off to a slow start or worse, regress this season, the front office will be second-guessed on a daily basis. Chapman goes back to being a one or two pitch guy, his development stunted. Both will be narratives that will run the length of the season, especially if another starter goes down with injury and Team Jocketty is left to scramble, and, heaven forbid, reverse course once more and open the door to throwing Chapman into the rotation. The Reds could minimize the fiasco by using Chapman in an unconventional way, using him in high-leverage situations in the 7th and 8th, where he could pitch 120 or so valuable innings and make a real contribution to the 2013 campaign.

No, none of that will happen. Out-of-the-box thinking does not ride shotgun with Dusty Baker. Everyone involved in this latest decision is already smarting from a self-inflicted wound. It’s unlikely we will ever see him throw a single pitch as a starter in a Reds uniform.

“I think if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned it’s better to keep that stuff to ourselves. You just set the table for a little too much speculation.”

Sorry, Bryan. Dusty had other ideas.  The buffet line is now out the door and down Mehring Way.

A career in the rotation was left stranded at first base. Instead of taking a big lead and putting pressure on the Nationals and the rest of the NL, the Reds chose to take a short conservative lead, eventually retreating to first base, leaving the entire enterprise stranded. End of inning. Game over for the Aroldis Chapman Project.


Postscript:  Although the above may appear controversial in tone, it’s important to remember that everyone here at Redleg Nation takes great pride in the franchise, the owner and everyone connected with the organization. No one should ever forget the commitment of the owner, GM and manager to bring a champion to the Queen City. We certainly don’t. But we would be remiss if we didn’t speak up when decisions are made that some believe are not in furtherance of that goal. This is one of those times.

Comment honestly and responsibly.

Join the conversation! 57 Comments

  1. Amen. I completely agree, especially about trading Chapman. He’s caused so much unnecessary controversy that I’d rather see the Reds get a few top prospects than see him back in the bullpen.

  2. This is off topic, but I can’t help but bemoan the crappie Rangers TV broadcasters on Fox Sports SW (I’m a Reds fan trapped far away from Ohio and it’s my free version of the game) doing the game today. They keep pronouncing Mat Latos’s name as LAW-tohs, instead of LAY-tohs. It’s driving me nuts. Basic rule of broadcasting is to find out how the players’ names are pronounced. I’d take any of the Reds broadcasters over these jokers. I think it’s Steve Busby and Tom Grieve–I try not to watch the Ranger games and today is another reminder why.

  3. Put me solidly in the camp that says trade him. (I actually said this last year.) Just don’t trade him to Tampa or we will get skinned in a deal with them. I am really just tired of seeing him being misused and the endless controversy. The kid has a great arm, it’s a shame that the Reds have caved to Dusty. Maybe we could trade him also.

  4. I just posted these thoughts on the “Editorial” thread. I think they fit right in here:

    Shchi Cossack said:
    As I contemplated realistic trades that would upgrade the Reds roster and benefit the team going forward using the excess quality from the bullpen, every viable option I could see happening, started and ended with Chapman, not Broxton or Marshall.Now that would be a significant twist to this entire situation.

    When I read this I went over to Cot’s contracts because I thought I recalled some quirks in Chapman’s deal.

    If the MLB service time listed for Chapman on Cot’s is accurate, he will be arbitration eligible at the end of this season assuming he spends the entire season on the 25 man roster and/ or the MLB DL list.

    If Cot’s has the terms of the contract accurately and I understood them correctly, being arbitration eligible at this season means Chapman’s contracted salary for 2014 ($3M) becomes due as a 2013 performance bonus and his 2014 salary is status becomes arbitration eligible.

    So, right off, one sees a potential financial angle to the closer decision from the player’s side. Chapman and his reps were not going to be happy (to say the least) if he went down to AAA to continue working on being a starter since that figured to cost him a $3M bonus plus arb eligibility which likely would earn him twice that amount in 2014 salary.

    From the club’s viewpoint, a couple of months at AAA for Chapman to hone his starting skills would have saved them the same money (above). However the price would have been to have a likely very unhappy camper on their hands.

    The second point is that with three years of arbitration eligibility looming for Chapman versus the cost certainty of his original contract, he suddenly becomes a potentially much more expensive player as half or more of the original contract was front loaded as a signing bonus. Given this I would not preclude the possibility that they might let him go for the right return.

  5. I have been traveling for a couple of days so hadn’t seen any of the updates on this decision or the team’s announcement. I’ve no doubt there are other threads where much has been said, and I’ll try not to be too repetitive.

    I have long been in the camp of those calling for Chapman to have an extended audition as a starter, with the hope that he would show enough promise that it became a permanent arrangement. I had high hopes last year when he was the Reds’ best starter in spring training. I was actually more encouraged during last season when, even though he was frequently unhittable, his occasional bouts of wildness (fatigue?) led to painful late inning losses at more or less the same rate as any ordinary dime-a-dozen decent closer. There are other observers, many with far more baseball savvy than I have, who see Chapman in the closer’s role as a good choice for the Reds. But too my eyes this is so clearly the wrong choice that I’m finding it hard to process. Really? Again?

    This is not about the money. I don’t care if he makes $7M or major league minimum. It’s about talent and potential. This decision makes about as much sense to me as saying “Let’s keep Todd Frazier out of the starting line-up. We’ll start Scott Rolen again this year at third. That way if we’re within 1 or 2 or 3 runs in the 9th and anybody else is coming up (even a perfectly solid hitter like Brandon Phillips or Jay Bruce or Ryan Ludwick), we can pinch hit with Frazier and maybe win the game at the last.” I have said until I’m blue in the face, and will offer it one last time – Who can possibly think that preserving a lead in the 9th is more important than taking a lead into the 9th? Everything a team can do to be ahead more consistently with one inning to go should take first priority. Chapman should have started.

    So now I’m changing my tune. I vote to trade Chapman. Trade him for a solid starter and a left-handed setup man, for a power hitting left fielder, for three great pitching prospects. Or watch him convert 93% of his save chances and wish he was a starter when the playoffs start…

    I’m bummed. Now to go worry about some things I can control…

  6. I thought everything in the postscript was already understood going in. Did Reds’ brass get offended by some o’ the reaction since Dean Wormer dropped the Big One yesterday? Can’t believe they’d care that much, to be honest.

    At any rate, I think the post pretty much sums up the missed opportunity.

    My only area of disagreement is that I think Chapman is allowed to change his mind, based on a new experience of closing for a year. That doesn’t mean the team should base its decision just on that, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Dusty used that as hard evidence to get his way, but just because Chapman said something different a year ago shouldn’t make what he said last week irrelevant.

  7. Brilliant post. I agree totally. In the bullpen, he will just not add as much as his potential is worth to another team who may or may not start him. Broxton, Marshall, Hoover and the other guys will be just fine without him. Move him to Miami for a few of the prospects that they got from the Blue Jays. Then, Walt has some payroll flexibility to add a piece later in the season if needed. This is an economic decision concerning not only 2013 but beyond.

  8. I’m all for trading any body for the right pieces. I’d trade Votto for the right collection of talent. But I don’t see the Reds trading such a big ticket seller. All those promos, the Chapman pick six or whatever. Chapman won’t be dealt. Not by this team, not this year.

    Realistically speaking, we could get that Castellanos kid and maybe someone else for Chapman from the Tigers. The Marlins are an obvious destination. Either the Yanks or the Red Sox. Shoot, good luck finding someone who ISN’T interested.

    I’ll just say this though to wrap things up: The Reds screwed the pooch on this one.

  9. I loved all of this up until the postscript — it’s totally unnecessary. If all people want is fawning love letters to the Reds, there are plenty of other places to get those. Criticism should never have to be qualified.

  10. On a lighter note…did anyone see Joey Votto’s homerun today off of Yu Darvish? It was awesome. 😀

    • @CP: Thom said it “was over 500 feet” – which would make it longer than any home run hit in the major leagues last year, so probably Thom was exaggerating, shocking. But it does sound magnificent. And great to hear that Votto has the juice for it .

      • @Steve Mancuso: Thom might actually be correct….I never actually saw the ball hit the ground…everyone in the stadium just turned around as it went somewhere in the desert…

  11. Moving chapman to the bullpen is ABSOLUTELY the right move. If we had moved him to starter, who knows how well his arm would have held up. Furthermore, his innings would be severely reduced, and his impact on the postseason would be minimal at best. The regular season could have been a disaster, as he would have undergone intense growing pains as did Matt Latos in his first few years in san diego. It is simply not the time when the Reds are going for it this year to throw Chapman into the fire. Wait until a better position.

  12. I am about done with this topic. Everything I have to say has been said – by me and by dozens of others, too. The Reds are still a better team than last year, and have the potential to win it all this year. And they have really fine pitcher in the (stupid, made up and entirely illogical) closer role, in which he might pitch an inning or two that really matters every month.

    But this isn’t entirely about yesterday’s decision. It’s about three years where *every* decision that’s been made regarding Aroldis Chapman has been wrong, and has stood in the way of his potential. It’s a black mark against an otherwise good operation that has brought us back to the playoffs and contention.

    Maybe it will all be forgotten after a winning season. But if young pitchers suddenly start showing reluctance to sign with the Reds, we might want to think back on this…

    • ….
      But this isn’t entirely about yesterday’s decision.It’s about three years where *every* decision that’s been made regarding Aroldis Chapman has been wrong,

      Yes, the plan seems to have been that there was no plan other than to throw Chapman into whatever lurch befell them that he might help get them through.

  13. Is the Mets trading ~37 year old RA Dickey really a precedent for trading Aroldis Chapman? I don’t think so, the Mets and Reds are in completely different situations.

    Even with RA Dickey most people would have picked the Nationals and Braves to finish ahead of the Mets in the NL East. Maybe the Phillies also. The Mets determined that it was best to make a rebuilding move, trading the old guy for young talent.

    Most people are picking the Cincinnati Reds to win the NL Central regardless of Chapman’s role, and he’s a key piece of the team’s present and future. Is this time to start rebuilding or is this what the Cincinnati Reds have been building for for years? I say the later.

  14. Hard to believe this is a kid’s game. I’m not so sure Chappy won’t start at some point down the road. I don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow, let alone a couple of years from now.

    All I know is, I’m not gonna put all my eggs in one basket. And as always, go Reds.

  15. I don’t agree with the decision to have AC in the bullpen.

    I DON’T GET how this decision is blamed on Dusty Baker. Walt Jocketty is not the Queen of England. He’s not a figure head. He has the ultimate responsibilty to make this decision.

    If people are dead set on blaming someone other than WJ, they should blame Redsfanman. He has almost as much responsibility in making this decision as DB.

    • @earmbrister: Jocketty has said all along that he wanted to try Chapman as a starter. This was an ownership decision and Dusty clearly has the ear of the ownership and probably enhanced that situation by making a media circus of the whole thing.

      If this were Jocketty’s decision, based on his words and deeds, Chapman would be in the rotation.

      • @Kyle Farmer: That’s the thing. IT’S JOCKETTY’s DECISION. How did it become “an ownership decision”? Based on what?

        The owner hired Baker. Then he replaced Baker’s boss with someone he respected from his St. Louis days. If the owner was indeed in Baker’s pocket, why would he replace the GM, and then listen to Baker instead of WJ?

        I don’t understand the constant need to blame every FRONT OFFICE DECISION that we don’t agree with on Dusty Baker. He’s the manager, there is plenty you will be able to blame him for, ON THE FIELD, if you just show a little patience …

        While we are at it, Baker also is responsible for global warming, based on all the trees (three) that his toothpicks were made from.

    • I don’t agree with the decision to have AC in the bullpen.

      I DON’T GET how this decision is blamed on Dusty Baker.Walt Jocketty is not the Queen of England.He’s not a figure head.He has the ultimate responsibilty to make this decision.

      If people are dead set on blaming someone other than WJ, they should blame Redsfanman.He has almost as much responsibility in making this decision as DB.

      Well said Earmbrister.

      • @redsfanman: at least you can admit you’re responsible. Lol.

        Also, I posted this on another thread, but if Hoover doesn’t make the Reds out of ST, then I’d like to see him converted back into a starter in AAA. He was a starter in the Braves org. who was only switched due to their ridiculous amount of young starters. He had the potential to be at least a number 2 pitcher. Plus, he was only switched a short time before the Reds traded for him.

        • @rhayex: Sometimes it’s easier to blame a person who predicted something would happen (like me) or the person who wanted something to happen (like Dusty) than the people who actually made a decision that something would happen.

          I think JJ Hoover’s days as a starting pitcher are behind him. Like teammate Sean Marshall I think he’s found his niche in the bullpen.

    • If people are dead set on blaming someone other than WJ, they should blame Redsfanman. He has almost as much responsibility in making this decision as DB.

      Really? I fully understand that Jocketty had the final call on this decision. But if you’re saying that the manager, who A) IS THE MANAGER, and B) has *repeatedly* publicly campaigned for his agenda, has NO ownership of this outcome…

      Sorry. No. Not buying.

      • @RC: My problem with this commentary is that way too many people are blaming this decision on Baker, while not saying boo about Jocketty. Look at the heading of this blog entry: “And this one belongs to the Manager”. However, it’s not limited to the author; the majority of the posts here put most, if not all, of the blame on Baker.

        Jocketty is not some 30 some year old GM, easily swayed by the opinions of the manager, the coaches, the owner, players, agents, etc. He’s been doing this for decades and is well paid to make personnel decisions. Just like in any business, the boss has the final call on important decisions, and he/she has “ownership” of the outcome, regardless of whatever his employees want or don’t want.

        The buck stops with Walt.

        I don’t necessarily agree with or understand WJ’s decision, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and let it play out. If people want to rip someone, rip the person who made the decision, not some other scapegoat.

  16. I don’t know so much about this post. If Chapman proved to be a #1 caliber starter, we probably wouldn’t be able to re-sign after next season. With Chapman as a closer, we may be able to re-sign him.

    The things I don’t like about this decision:
    1) If we have anywhere in our plans of trading him, Chapman would be much more valuable as a starter than a reliever
    2) Spending this much money on 3 relievers who, altogether, probably won’t see as many innings as several of the starters individually. A definite ineffective use of money for a small market club. We could have used that money to secure players for other holes we have, whether now or later.
    3) This makes a decision on who starts the season in the bullpen even more difficult. We simply have too many quality arms for the number of positions we have. Adding Chapman to that mix makes the decision for the others even worse.
    *** With this, I wouldn’t be surprised for a trade. Only brainstorming, like Ludwick/Broxton/one more reliever for a better right handed bat than Ludwick who can play OF.
    4) Baker taking it to the papers. Even if the papers pressed him, all he had to say was, it will be a club decision. But, Baker had to say he wanted a decision on Chapman soon, pressing the front office in the papers, exactly like he did in 2010 midseason with his contract extension then.

    Without a WS title in the next 2 seasons, I hope Baker doesn’t get extended again. Who will take his place? I don’t know who. But, I would think with the talent level this organization has right now, I would think the line/list of candidates would go up I-75 into Dayton. We will have plenty of choices.

    Sorry, but Walt and the previous 2 GM’s did more for this organization than Baker ever could.

    • @steveschoen: Regardless of whether Chapman’s performance bonus clause would void his contract after 2013 season or whether he would decline the option for 2015, he would remain under team control (i.e. be arbitration eligible) until he has 6 full years of MLB service time. If Cot’s has the currently listed service time correct, it is after the 2016 season at the earliest that he could walk as a free agent.

      That said, he could be more expensive than the Reds would want to pay after the 2014 season, or even this season. However the fact he remains under team control until after 2016 should retain very significant trade value for him after the 2013 or 2014 season.

      • @OhioJim: I agree, just not as much as a reliever as a starter.

      • @OhioJim:
        That still doesn’t mean we wouldn’t trade him. We would have to afford the arbitration figures. Chapman’s agent isn’t going to have Chapman accept the option.

  17. This isn’t the first time that Dusty has undermined Walt in how he used or didn’t use a player. Two years ago in 2011 in what had clearly become a nowhere season, Walt brought up the top two prospects in the organization in order to see what they had (Mesoraco and Alonso) with respect to possible long term fixes at catcher and left field. Instead of seeing if they could play, Dusty sat them and played Ramon Hernandez, Jonny Gomes, and Fred Lewis in a quest to win 81 games (which didn’t happen). You have to wonder at what point does Jocketty throw up his hands and leave. If my subordinate was going around me to the boss, undermining me to his subordinates (players) and pushing a position in the media that was contrary to the position of management I would either fire him or I would be out the door. Especially if I had options – which I’m sure Walt does.

    • @Jetsons Dog: Mesoraco was called up for the first time on September 3, 2011. He appeared in 18 of the 23 remaining games that year. He had 53 plate appearances. He had THE MAJORITY of the time at catcher during the remaining 23 games of the year.

      As for Alonso, the only time he has seen play other than at first base (Baker should have sat Votto) in his MLB career has been under Baker. Baker started Alonso 14 games in LF, 1 G at 3B, and 1 G at 1B in 2011. Alonso was traded to the Padres, whose manager also undermined the GM and only played him at 1B. He played in 149 games last year for SD, and not one inning anywhere but first base. Watch Alonso’s MLB career, and you’ll see him start NO WHERE but 1B, ’cause that’s the only position he can play. Baker should be fired for not seeing that Yonder Alonso should be starting ahead of Votto.

      I would have NO RESPECT for Baker, if he didn’t have a real opinion about how his players should be utilized. To use Mesoraco and Alonso as examples of Baker undermining WJ, well that just ignores reality.

    • @Jetsons Dog: I’ve heard a few people say this. Ok, if this was really the case and if WJ really was a decision fully on the shoulders of the owner, then we should fully expect WJ’s resignation at the end of the season or sooner. I personally feel that WJ was swayed and that he still made the final call. I think he’ll still be the Reds’ GM next season because his manager isn’t in fact going over his head every 10 minutes.

  18. It is always Dusty’s fault. LOL.

    I am disappointed about the decision because Mike Leake is scary in the 5th slot. But I am amazed more people are not more concerned about how good Broxton will be this year. He had a decent year last year but several cruddy years before that.

  19. I just don’t see this as much of a sky is falling moment. I think it could be there is other potential production that could be gotten out of Chapman as a starter, but I think in the scheme of things it is more of a wash.

    Chapman was not going to be able to start probably more than 20-24 games. Whatever happens, he would have to spend some time in the bullpen and there is no reason that if things change with injury, the Reds could do with him what the Braves did with Medlen last year.

    I just don’t think Mike Leake is that scary for a #5. Other than the Giants and the Nats, who has a better #5 starter? Leake isn’t great and seems to always be a bad inning away, but he is really more league average than terrible. You and the Reds have had much worse.

    So really you are going with the potential of 20-24 starts for Chapman versus 30-32 of Leake (injuries notwithstanding). I really can’t see it coming down to more than a couple game swing either way.

    That said adding Chapman back to the bullpen does beef that part of the staff up.

    I think this is kind of a Roshomon situation. The dude that could probably cut through it all and give the truth is the last guy that would ever let it out and that’s Ryan Hanigan.

    I think it is possible they look at Chapman’s mental makeup and other skills as a pitcher and just don’t think he would work as well as a starter.

    It could also be they are looking at Broxton and Marshall and figure they might end up short in the pen and are hedging the bet.

    I think the Reds know they have a ‘star’ closer, so even though they are overpaying for maybe less innings – who knows what the marketing value of him coming out in all of those ESPN games and blowing 100+ mph gas out of the pen is worth. Beyond the obvious, don’t fix something that’s not broken.

    The Reds are kind of set for starting pitching right now, so maybe they figure next year might work out better, especially considering the Reds are built to pretty much win it all now.

    Which is the reason for now why the Reds would never really trade Chapman for anything today. They are looking bad in mid-season, hey that’s a different story…but now, nah. Never going to happen.

    I think if this was 2009 or 2010 they make the leap with Chapman, but I think the Reds are looking set for now in the rotation and using him as a part time at #5 just didn’t add up. And I think the fact that he is already a TV star as a closer is probably as much to blame as Dusty.

  20. To the sabermetricians out there in the Nation – any suggestions on a good first book to read on sabermetrics?

    • @mlb: The Book by Tom Tango (and others, I think). Also, just playing around in the glossary on Fangraphs is a good start.

    • @mlb: Baseball Prospectus did a great intro/101 series several years back. It’s probably still there. Their newer stuff is much harder to get into, as all the low-hanging intellectual fruit has been picked.

    • @mlb: Baseball Prospectus also published a book a few years back: BASEBALL BETWEEN THE NUMBERS – Why Everything You Thought You Knew About The Game Is Wrong.

      Some of the chapters are easier to read than others, but it gives you a good idea where this all started. You could probably find it at your local library or used book store.

    • Thanks!

    • @mlb: If you can get a hold of any of Bill James’ abstracts, they are great reading. Rob Neyer also has “Flip Flop Fly Ball: An Infographic Baseball Adventure” as well as “Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups”

      • @LWBlogger: I’m aware James is responsible for much of the advancement in the field, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good place to start.

  21. Nice post RF, and of course I agree. One day Baker says that Spring Training doesn’t mean a thing and no one should worry about the record and then he says that Leake’s having a great Spring and deserves to start. Except that he didn’t pitch better than Chapman. Oh and Dusty says that it wasn’t between Chapman and Leake, but it obviously was, that’s pretty plan to see.

    I said last year that I thought they should trade Chapman because they’d be able to get so much in return for him.

  22. Okay, I’m in the camp that would have preferred Chapman as a starter this year. Still, I can’t support an editorial that reads like the Reds are helmed by dysfunctional management. The truth we all know is that Jocketty and Baker (and now Price) have presided over a franchise renaissance, aided in no small part by drafts dating back to Dan O’Brien. The Reds are justifiably in the conversation for the World Series this year. So I am willing to put aside my own disappointment and give them the benefit of the doubt, because they are winners.

  23. Yeah, it’s all Dusty’s fault! He doesn’t like sabermetrics, he uses outdated thinking, now wonder this club is a perennial loser not expected to….

    Huh? They are expected to repeat as chmpions, you say?


    Well, nevermind.

  24. RN has long been a place for rational discussion of Reds baseball, and that’s why I’ve been a bit surprised by the response to the Chapman situation. Neither this article nor the previous editorial mention the loss in velocity that Chapman exhibited in his opportunities to start this spring. (From what I’ve read his fastball was sitting around 91, topping out at 93-94.) Both vilify Dusty and Dusty alone, though there is plenty of evidence in the recent Reds news coverage that lots of folks in the Reds organization (players, scouts) were against the decision to have Chapman start. Though players don’t have a say, I wouldn’t feel great about the Reds organization if they didn’t consider the opinion of their scouts and other baseball operations folks when they make a decision this big. The facts are:

    a) Dusty was not the only person involved in this decision who was against Chapman starting.

    b) There was new information (that Chapman’s velocity was way down in his starts) that would (and should) cause Walt and everyone else to take pause.

    c) We do not have all of the information.

    Part of having a rational discussion is recognizing and admitting when you just don’t have all the facts. Maybe Dusty went over Walt’s head here, like so many are saying. Maybe Walt changed his mind after seeing ST. Maybe Walt still believes that Chapman should start this year, but the majority of the other people in the organization do not. There’s a lot of possibilities, and we are not in a position to know which one really occurred. Maybe we can all just accept that and enjoy what should be a pretty good Reds season, even if we’re a bit disappointed that Chapman isn’t in the rotation.

  25. This drama Queen thing is getting a little tired. “O! Horrors! The world is ending! Chapman is not a starter!” Get a grip already.

  26. And the inflatable rat is more for show than anything else.

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2013 Reds, Aroldis Chapman, Editorials


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