Many of us have said that if the Reds aren’t going to use Aroldis Chapman as a starter, his biggest value is as a trade chip.

John Erardi agrees.

He even has an idea who to get for him (and others)….

I’ve been a Reds fan since the late ’60’s, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in ’84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in ’90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.

Join the conversation! 76 Comments

  1. To summarize: “the Marlins are bad therefore they are going to trade their most valuable contract.” They aren’t. Since May 30, the Marlins have a better record than the Reds. (22-17 v. 20-21). They have some excellent young starting pitching.

    The Marlins certainly aren’t going to trade a valuable contract for 3 years of a pretty steep contract for a pitcher unproven at the major league level beyond one inning. We might as well pine for a Mike Trout trade; after all, the Angels are lousy, too.

    • @Big Ed:

      The article isn’t as much about getting Stanton as it is pointing to a couple of key issues: 1) Chapman has less value as a closer than as a starter, but the Reds are unwilling to use him in that role. 2) The Reds offense has been lackluster of late and absolutely need to add some punch. 3) Jocketty needs to do something BIG.

      It may not be Stanton, but I agree with everything said and have floated the idea of trading Chapman since last year. The Reds could part with Chapman and some of their top talent (not named Cingrani or Hamilton) and still do something bold.

  2. Id do it.. Lets be honest here.. (And i love the missle..) but he is wasted talent who comes in and closes a game we are already most likely going to win.. Now if he was used more so like coming in the 8th and pitching two innings.. id be more for him to stay but 3 outs.. He does bring some Fan fair thoo.. Hes fun to watch.. But watching our team in the play offs in funner if you ask me.

  3. If you can get the right package of talent, I’d do it. Teams all-around find closers every spring. Bafour (A’s a couple years ago), Mujica, Cisek, Willihamson (M’s), etc.

    One of the greatest fireman/closers of all time Goose ‘Rich’ Gossage found his niche after a failed career as a starter (I actually have a 1972 topps card of him around somewhere, no facial hair yet!).

    I don’t know if Walt will trade him this season though. the injury problems of Marshall and Broxton could create a serious depth problem if they recur after a chapman trade. An off-season move would not surprise me though.

  4. One thing we (I?) often overlook in the business of baseball is the business of baseball. The Missle has some value (I can’t tell you what it is) in the closer’s role because it keeps people in the seats until the last out – for hopes of seeing 105+ on the radar gun. That sells more soda and chili dogs. I have no idea if that matters enough to our brass that it impacts the conversion to a starter, or a trade potential, but I think it is a fact. braves fans were sticking around on Sunday to see Chapman – I observed it live.

    I’m not saying that trumps everything or even anything else. Just that it was a realization I had on Sunday at the park.

    • @hoodlum:

      A lineup of Choo, Phillips, Votto, Stanton, Bruce would probably put some butts in the seats too.

      • @David: Imagine the seats sold on the days he starts. Fans would know for sure he was pitching and for more than one inning. I’ve always thought the “butts in the seats” argument for Chapman in the bullpen had it backwards, so to speak.

        • @Steve Mancuso:

          and that is the math that I don’t pretend to understand. Is it better to have the hope of seeing him every game, thus maybe adding 2 innings per game of concessions, plus maybe some ticket sales for the hope of seeing him vs. more ticket sales every 5th day? And, if he starts on the road – do you lose all benefit at home w/r/t this aspect?

          I am not advocating, or even arguing this position. Just pointing out that people were staying at the game in Atlanta until the bottom 9 to see him throw. That’s when I thought maybe that is a value that our brass sees with having him close that we as fans or as strategists don’t see.

          • @hoodlum:

            I was at the game in Milwaukee where Gomez robbed Votto at the wall. Part of my staying was in hopes to see Chapman, so I get it. However, you only need to look at recent deals to understand how the market views premier starters v. relievers.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Not sure what you see in Chapman that makes you think that he’d last more than an inning or two as a starter.

          • @greenmtred: Really … really?

          • @rightsaidred: Yes, really. I don’t discount the possibility that he could, with time, become a great starter, or a mediocre one, but what he has now is a great arm, and little more. There are plenty of guys with better hops than Michael Jordan had, and few of them make the NBA, never mind the HOF.

          • @greenmtred: don’t move the goal posts here. You said an inning or two and now you’re referencing Jordan and the hall of fame.

            There is substantial evidence that Chapman can pitch an inning as a starter because be currently pitches an inning as a closer. He pitched 2 innings a few times last year and stretched in The past two springs to the extent of pitching 4 and 5. He threw the same and was a starter in Cuba too

  5. The Cardinals have had 4 different guys lead them in Saves this year plus the last 3. You have to have some pretty bad luck to NOT find Just a Guy who can convert the majority of Save opportunities. Potentially dominant LH starters, on the other hand….

    • @Eric the Red: Right, but every smart GM knows that by now. (The Angels and Dodgers being the leading dumb-dumb teams now.)

      So what trade value does Chapman actually have? Teams take a risk that he won’t be a good starter, against a big-but-manageable salary, so I don’t see a team giving up a Stanton for that. And there isn’t anybody out there who is available who would be worth giving up Chapman for. Rios? Please. He had worse-than-Cozart OPS 2 seasons ago.

      The Reds may well trade Chapman in the offseason, but then they may well convert him to starting. Finally. And he may not be a good starter, and he may hurt his arm as a starter. He has too many ifs to command great trade value, and certainly not Stanton value.

      • @Big Ed: I still don’t understand why you bring up the one outlier season Alex Rios had. He’s been consistently above average every other year. It’d be like saying Bronson Arroyo’s mono-year was indicative of his true value and talent.

        • @rhayex: Rios had a .691 OPS in 2009 and a .613 in 2011. He didn’t have mono either year. His career OBP is .324. He is mediocre and 32. Heisey is close enough to being as good so as not to waste $12mm/year on Rios.

  6. And now that it was in the paper, Stanton’s value just increased.

  7. Hello all, I have been reading this blog for about a year and a half or so, but this is my first time commenting. I know that he isn’t on the list of ‘available’ targets, but what if the Reds went after Avisail Garcia? The Tigers need a ‘closer’ and he may be able to be had for a little less than Stanton. He isn’t proven, but he is Major League ready. Just a thought…

  8. Nothing new here, we’ve all had this discussion, and, for the most part, we agree that it isn’t going to happen for one reason or another.

    I’d look to sell him for an “unproven” top hitting prospect if I were the Reds. That would maximize his value, as you could potentially get other prospects with it too in return for just Chapman. To get Stanton, I’d think it would take Chapman, Stephenson, Hamilton, and a few others.

    • @rhayex: This seems like a fantastic idea, though I doubt the front office will be that creative in the middle of a pennant race. Picking up a nearly MLB ready impact bat and a smaller piece from a contender innneed of BP help in exchange for Chapman could set the franchise up for an even longer period of sustained success. It’s a wonderful thought.

  9. Off topic, but is there any speculation that the Reds are among the teams asking the Phillies about Michael Young? … Seems to me that he could play third, and Frazier could play left, and the Reds would have a power threat off the bench if Ludwick comes back. Also, Young would give the Reds somebody else who could play second or short in a pinch without having to rely on the offensively challenged infield reserves……….

    • @vegastypo: Phillies like him too much to trade him for cheap. Other teams will start a bidding war over him, so I’d prefer it if the Reds stayed out.

      In other news (off topic), Mike Brown reached deep, deep, deep, DEEP into his pockets (cuz he’s cheap! That’s the joke…), and resigned Dunlap for 40m dollars.

    • @vegastypo: I like Michael Young and he’d be an upgrade offensively over our current LF but not a HUGE upgrade. He’s also a large downgrade defensively at 3B compared to Frazier. If I could get him without giving up too much, I’d put Young in LF and keep Frazier at 3B. I honestly think the Phillies will want too much for him though.

      Honestly, this is a tough deadline market. There just aren’t too many guys out there that I think could really help. I hate the idea of standing pat but it may be the way to go, especially since even with a move, the Reds may not win the division.

    • @vegastypo: The Phillies bullpen is pretty much being rebuilt, I think a descent bullpen arm and maybe a second minor league reliever would be a couple of things the Phillies kind of need.

  10. It’s a nice idea, but I just don’t see how the Reds wouldn’t be outbid for Stanton’s services if he’s even available in the first place. The upper minor leagues are pretty barren right now, so the Marlins would have to just be enamored with Chapman because the Reds don’t have much else that they could use to sweeten the pot.

    • @AlphaZero: You could make the argument that the Marlins are fully aware that they’re not ready to compete for several years and WANT prospects from the lower minors. The problem with that, however, is that those are always high upside types, much like the pitcher involved in the Ben Revere trade last offseason.

  11. More Cuban defectors are declaring free agency. I want the Reds to get in on them, especially after not spending any of their actual international budget. The problem is that they’re all pitchers, and that teams are allowed to bid on them without a ceiling.

    If WJ could pull off a Chapman and sign one of them, though, he could get another good trade chip for the future, or a starter ready to replace Cueto if he’s traded.

    Just a thought.

    • @rhayex: I like the idea of being in the forefront of the coming Cuban invasion, but I would think it would be helpful to have Chapman on board the team for that purpose.

      I’m not against trading Chapman nor converting him to the rotation. I am against trading him for a mediocre player, and against thinking that he’s going to bring Stanton in return.

      • @Big Ed: Well, we’re on the same side on that argument. I will beat this to death if I have to: Stanton>Chapman. It was one of my first comments, and it will continue to be true until Chapman is put in the starting rotation and if he excels there.

        The other thing is, I wouldn’t trade Chapman for a MLer at all, unless the Reds are just blown away (ie, Stanton-Chapman straight up. Never gon’ happen.). It would make sense to package him with some prospects in a Stanton like trade (superstar), but otherwise, prospects seems the best way to go, especially in a pennant race.

        I agree that Chapman-Rios is not a good trade for the Reds (imo), but that’s because I believe they could get more out of him than that.

  12. I like the guy in the comments section of the Erardi column that says “so the end goal is to pull Votto out of the clean-up spot? There is a reason this guy is a writer and not a GM.” That’s the right commenting board for you, sir.

    • @Matt WI:

      I saw those comments as well. I didn’t even think that person was being serious.

      Like others have said, for numerous reasons, Stanton is a pipe dream. That being said, adding a solid right handed hitter to this lineup sure would be nice. Chapman, with all the talent in the world, is obviously underemployed as the closer and his value is not being maximized. I’d love if we can use him to add a talented hitter who won’t hurt us in the field. As others have noted, the modern closer is not one of the harder pieces to replace.

      I agree with those that have said there isn’t a bat out there that would be worth trading Aroldis. But, as we know, if Walt ends up making a deal, it would likely be for someone that we haven’t even heard is available.

      • @JMac1984: Maybe he wasn’t being serious. If so, I’ll never understand what makes trolling fun for people. Adolescence can be hard to give up for some people I guess.

      • @JMac1984: If, as everybody says, the closer is easy to replace, it’s hard to imagine anyone giving up a decent bat who doesn’t hurt us in the field (sounds like the definition of a starting player on a contender) for a closer. Many of us seem to assume that Chapman isn’t starting simply because the Reds/Dusty are clueless. I do not make that assumption; if management were clueless, the Reds would still be as bad as they were 10 years ago.

  13. Bottom line: Give value to get value. Joe Fan wants to trade a guy after he sucks (and everybody knows it) and sign him to a long term contract when he’s hot for a month. If it feels like it hurts to give up Chapman, that’s because he has value, and you’re otherwise probably overestimating the true value of a closer in the first place. It was amazing the Reds pulled Chapman out of their hat in the first place, but I’d bid him adieu in a heartbeat for the right return.

  14. How about Chapman to Detroit for Nick Castellanos? Detroit always needs help in the bullpen, and money seems to be no object to them. Castellanos is blocked by Cabrera, though he has been been playing some OF lately. This seems like a good deal for both sides, yes?

    • @AlphaZero:

      I like that. Interesting thought.

    • @AlphaZero: Funny, I Googled him and the first thing that came up was a fan blog post suggesting he be traded for a reliever and prospects because he is ready now and blocked by Miggy.

    • @AlphaZero: Castellanos is a top prospect. But I’d be reluctant to trade a proven major league player that possessed extremely rare talents for an unproven one, given the situation the Reds are in now (wanting to contend). How foolish it would be for the Tigers to trade Castellanos for a relief pitcher.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I agree that I’m not sure I’d give up a legit MLB player for a prospect while I’m in a pennant hunt. It wouldn’t surprise me at all however if the Tigers moved him to somebody for a “proven closer”. It wouldn’t be the best of moves for them in my opinion but it wouldn’t shock me one bit. If the Reds weren’t in a pennant race, I’d trade Chapman for Castellanos in less than a heartbeat.

        • @LWBlogger: I’d still do it even though we are in a pennant race. You’re setting yourself up for success far into the future with that trade, while losing a “dominant” closer who could be replaced with ease.

          Honestly, I don’t think the Reds even need a “closer”, but that’s just me and my new-fangled views.

          • @rhayex: Closers have little value until the guy closing for you starts blowing 2-run leads. I tend to agree that the role seems too rigidly defined now, but why would well-constructed, contending teams (Tigers, Red Sox) want closers if they really were so easy to find?

  15. Both the Tigers and Red Sox purport to need a closer, so I suppose it’s possible that they would make an intriguing offer for Chapman. It’s not really Uncle Walt’s style, though.

    Cueto is under Reds control for 2 more years at $10mm per, and although I get the “sell high” theory, I don’t see it with him. If he doesn’t get healthy, he has no value and the Reds let him walk after next year, paying the buyout. If he gets his problem behind him, then the Reds will get more than their money out of him and let him walk after 2015, taking the draft pick of the signing team.

    • @Big Ed:

      I don’t think they’d decline a $10m option on Cueto unless maybe his injury was career threatening. I just don’t see that happening.

      • @JMac1984: No. I don’t see the Reds doing that even if he’s out the rest of the season, or comes back and pitches to a four era. He’ll make much more than that in free agency, unless he just completely loses it AND get hurt again.

  16. I keep seeing suggestion to trade Chapman to Marlins, but I really don’t see Miami wanting him. He’s more expensive in the short term with fewer years team control (I think.) There are, however, plenty of contending teams that would want Chapman to bolster bullpen for playoff run then convert to starter. I think we could land Stanton in a three way trade in which Miami gets prospects from another team plus possibly another from Reds.

    • @redfanapf: That’s an interesting idea, and one I hadn’t even thought of. If you could get Detroit to sign off on that (trading Castellanos), then I could see it happening, with the Reds throwing in some prospects (ie, Lutz, Hamilton, or Soto).

      On the other hand, if you could get a Castellanos for Chapman to begin with, wouldn’t the Reds just as soon take that? I would, in all honesty. The cost of buying Stanton (Chapman, plus others) is not worth the potential of selling Chapman for multiple young talents (Castellanos, whoever else the Tigers have in their system that’s a low B, high C level prospect).

      That’s just my opinion though. It’s not as easy being a GM as it seems. If you’ve got a trade such as ^lined up, which do you choose? Among other issues. Meanwhile, every other GM is looking to swindle you and is also thinking the same thing you are.

      I started rambling. Sorry.

  17. Of course all of this assumes that other MLB teams do not trust Reds management’s judgement that Chapman does not have what it takes to be a starter. My guess is that most teams would assume the Reds management knows Chapman best and would also value Chapman as a closer.

  18. Lance McAlister is running a survey (non-scientific, like ours) about trading Chapman for a bat and 73% of respondents say “yes”.

    I’m surprised.

    • @Bill Lack: What? Now people are missing Adam Dunn?

      But yeah, that is surprising (to the good, IMO) that most people would be open to it.

  19. Talk to the Texas Rangers. They would love Chapman and know how to use him. They have an extra SS they don’t know exactly what to do with. Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus. They also have a brute of a 3B prospect at AAA, I think, by the name of Olt. Watch this angle play out over the next couple of weeks.
    Two division contenders working out a blockbuster deal.

    • @WVRedlegs: Andrus is the American League Cozart this year.

      I think the comments about considering 3rd (due to Frazier’s versatility) as well as Left are exactly right. Walt probably needs to see what Chapman shakes loose at 3rd, SS, LF, CF, or Catcher if he is doing his due diligence in a lean deadline market . . .

      • @rightsaidred:

        Andrus is having a little bit of a down year. he’s usually hit around .275. He’s only 24 though, in his 5th year in MLB. Profar is 20. Andrus can steal bases, is an excellent bunter, and good but not great on defense. The one thing I didn’t know was that he signed an extension before this season for 8 years/$120MM. That is out of the Red’s price range, period, I would suppose.
        Maybe go after Profar and Olt then. Olt has been on the DL most of this year but is coming around.
        If the Rangers are offering Olt to the Cubs for two months of Matt Garza, I think the Reds could make a better offer to get him and keep him from the Cubs.

  20. I do realize the likelihood of Stanton or Chapman being traded is small.

    But don’t forget Chapman is Cuban. The fans down in Miami would fall in love with him instantly. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if the owner tried to get Chapman over there by any means necessary. We all know he cares more about money than winning and Chapman would certainly sell tickets in Miami for sure (especially if he starts there).

    I would be over the moon if a deal happened.

  21. I’d already read Erardi’s article, it’s a good one. I know the article isn’t about getting Stanton, but he’s just not a good example. He’s not available, plus the Marlins would want so much more for Stanton.

    His being a Cuban defector would be a value-add for the Marlins. If the Reds are going to talk trade with them, don’t they have players in their organization other than Stanton ?

    • @pinson343: As most everyone acknowledges, the Reds aren’t going to trade Aroldis Chapman. Even though logic and statistics indicate they are wrong about this, the decision-makers (led by Dusty Baker) apparently view having a shut-down closer as infinitely important and Chapman fits that bill. No way, no how, the Reds are going to trade him.

      And they certainly aren’t going to trade him for a prospect, like Castellanos, while they’re in the middle of a pennant race. A more even-up trade would be Billy Hamilton for Castellanos. Remember, even many of the top prospects don’t become successful players at the major league level. It’s hit or miss.

      That said, the Tigers (Jim Leyland in particular) seem like one of those old-timey organizations who would over-value closers. If they traded their top prospect for a closer, it would be the height of lunacy.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Lunacy? Or genius?

        Just kidding, that’d be insane. It’d be fantastic for the Reds if it happened tho.

      • @Steve Mancuso: I’m with you. I don’t think there is a chance in heck that the Reds trade Chapman. Dusty would probably have a hissy fit if Jocketty traded away his security blanket.

        I’m not sure the Reds will do anything, really. I remember Jocketty coming out on Aug. 1 last year and saying they tried to make the team better but the price was too high. The only thing they could swing was to get Broxton. I’m guessing we will see a minor deal of some sort but that’s it. I think they are putting all their eggs in Ludwick’s basket.

        • @Hunt4RedsOctober: I sure hope not. I’m afraid of the Ludwick basket being quite barren this year. He’s a notoriously slow starter and he might not get it going again this season.

      • @Steve Mancuso: That old-timey organization is playing pretty good ball, though.

        • @greenmtred: Yep, great starting pitching and hitting. Most observers believe their record is nowhere near what it should be given al their talent, though. I’ll be surprised if they don’t overpay for a closer in the next few weeks, maybe two.

  22. One has to remember, for Chapman to be worth more as a starter, he has to be a good starter. Throwing a ball 100+ isn’t the only thing a starter has to do. Starters are more concerned with hitting the corners, almost at will. Starters are able to throw more pitches for strikes, whether the hitters swing or not. Starters have to be able to hit, field, run, hold runners on, etc.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t help thinking that when people say Chapman would make a good starter, they are forgetting a lot of this. It’s like saying someone would make a good race car driver simply because they can put the pedal to the floor and keep it there. Any racer will tell you there is a lot more to racing than just that. The only thing I’ve heard in response to this with Chapman is something like, “Well, other players always say he’s the best athlete on the team.” That doesn’t answer one thing about can he hit the corners almost at will, can he throw any pitch for a strike almost at will whether the batter swings or not, etc.

    Not to mention, I believe many people forget the last reports from Chapman’s last go at starting in a non-ST game. He could get through about 4 innings alright. After that, he blew up. That’s not the kind of starter I would be looking for.

    I will say, though, I am interested to see “the experiment”. I am very interested in seeing “if” Chapman can handle starting for an extended time period. But, saying “he would be worth more starting”, that is assuming a whole lot based on very little evidence. Randy Johnson wasn’t that good until, he admits, he learned that he can’t just go up there and throw as hard as he could and expect to get people out. He had to learn essentially everything I stated, essentially how to pitch.

    As Chapman for Stanton, it would never happen. The Marlins would ask for a lot more. Will we give it? That’s something else. I don’t think we would give it.

    Also, consider, for Marshall, we gave up Wood, Sappelt, and the low level minor SS prospect I believe. For Chapman, I would have to think we could get more, either more players or higher profile players. Stanton? Nope, it would still take more from us.

    • @steveschoen: We all know that Chapman needs more than one pitch. That’s why there are calls for more sliders and change ups when he pitches.

    • @steveschoen: Good points.

    • I will say, though, I am interested to see “the experiment”. I am very interested in seeing “if” Chapman can handle starting for an extended time period. But, saying “he would be worth more starting”, that is assuming a whole lot based on very little evidence. Randy Johnson wasn’t that good until, he admits, he learned that he can’t just go up there and throw as hard as he could and expect to get people out. He had to learn essentially everything I stated, essentially how to pitch.

      I think this is where the vast majority of people, on both sides of the issue, are at. Anyone who says they are certain Chapman will succeed as a starter are every bit as wrong as anyone who says they know for sure he will fail. Considering how much more valuable a starter is than a closer, and with Chapman’s obvious upside, it’s an experiment worth running. He wouldn’t have to be Randy Johnson to have more value than he does as a closer, though.

  23. Also, they supposedly asked Chapman which role he preferred during the AS break. He apparently said, “without hesitation”, that he prefers closing.

    • @rhayex: Not surprising. Without any work he is and will be as long as he has velocity, an elite closer. He knows starting is a big unknown and it requires a ton of work on his change up and perhaps even variation of his heat (I am thinking Clemons-esque forkball would be deadly or learning to ‘cut’ it like Leake would be a great pitch for right handers who are going to bite on his slider.

      Bottom line: starting is more uncertain and a lot more work. It is only more valuable if he is a good at it (which is a chance the team should be willing to take but one we can now never expect Chapman to want to take)

  24. MLBTR is reporting that the Reds are looking at bullpen help. Why? Just…just why? They’re looking at Jesse Crain and Glen Perkins, per Jim Bowden.

    • @rhayex: Ugh. This can only mean that at least one of Broxton or Marshall are nowhere close. This bullpen has been in shambles and it has been stellar during the Reds streak of averageness.

      I can think of no reason to move for another bullpen arm unless Walt sees a saturated market and easy pickings to upgrade.

    • @rhayex: It wouldn’t be mid-season if the Reds weren’t trading for middle relief. It’s who they are, it’s what they do.

  25. The other thing to factor in here is pride. If the Reds trade Chapman it will be seen as giving up and an organizational failure. Jocketty signed Chapman to much fanfare. If he is traded away now it will be perceived as him cutting his losses with a failed prospect.

    • @aweis09: I don’t know that’s necessarily the take away if there is a trade involving Chapman. It assumes a guy is being traded because he’s unwanted or underperforming. Guys get traded sometimes because they are very good, but the club has other needs. If Chapman is a considered a “failed prospect,” help us all for what the return would be. In what aspect would Chapman be considered a failure by anyone?

      The only possible “failure” would be if another organization turned him loose as a successful starter, but if they are afraid of trading him for that reason, then they should have actually let him start.

  26. The other thing to factor in here is pride. If the Reds trade Chapman it will be seen as giving up and an organizational failure. Jocketty signed Chapman to much fanfare. If he is traded away now it will be perceived as him cutting his losses with a failed prospect.

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About Bill Lack

I've been a Reds fan since the late '60's, with my luck of being able to attend plenty of games at Riverfront during the BRM era. I was sitting in the Green Seats in the OF when Pete came home in '84 and was in the Red seats when Glenn Braggs reached over the fence in '90 to beat the Pirates. I have had many favorites from Jim Maloney to Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Adam Dunn, and Jay Bruce.


2013 Reds, Chapmania