You put your left foot inchapman_over_broadway
You pull your left foot out
Once you looked “all in”
Now everything’s in doubt.

They’re doing the Hokey Pokey down by the river at 100 Joe Nuxhall Way. Again. Another offseason. Another episode of “Will He or Won’t He.”

Yes, sports fans, we’re talking about Aroldis Chapman, a character so enigmatic that I’m convinced that if David Lynch knew his story, he’d almost certainly want to make a movie about the mysterious dude who may live faster than he both drives and pitches. If the Cuban Missile had been pitching in New York through all this Sturm und Drang, there would definitely have been a Broadway musical made by now. The Closer: Turn off the Dark would have made millions for Great White Way investors.

Mr. 106 has mesmerized the higher ups to the point where they don’t know whether they are coming or going. He wants to start. Then he doesn’t. The front office preps him in Spring Training for the rotation, then banishes him to the pen. The next Spring they ratchet up the expectations again for a move to the rotation, only to cave as the manager takes his case to the media for several excruciating and head-scratching weeks. So, here we are once again, fresh off more messages that new manager Bryan Price will finally get his way, only to be told—by Price himself of all people—that he’s changed his mind:

“I like what Aroldis has done for our club, I think he has settled into a role and I believe there are certain aspects as to who he is as a pitcher that after another year in the bullpen seem to suggest that he’s best suited for the bullpen. I think organizationally, until we can go front-and-center and say, ‘this is what we’re going to do,’ there’s going to be that little bit of question mark.”

“I prefer the question mark to go away, myself,” he said. “I would. I’d be the first one to say that I liked him as a starter this time last year, I was on record as saying we’d get more value out of him, but the one thing that’s changed for me personally is one more year with Aroldis, a chance to further evaluate him mentally and physically on where his strengths are best suited and my feeling is he’s comfortable doing what he’s doing. I think that’s where he’ll be best suited over the course of his career.”

Enough. Can we now dispense with the Cuban Two Step? Now that we know that the Reds—who frankly don’t have all that much rotation depth—have decided not to supplement the rotation by getting Aroldis ready to provide 100 innings or so of insurance when a starter inevitably does go down, can we finally just admit this 12 step Cuban program has hit the skids now that Chapman has declared his future plans? I mean, the clock is ticking away as we speak, yes? The price of poker in Orlando has gone up. The chips at the trade table have to come from somewhere. So one must ask …

Can we just trade Aroldis Chapman already?

The Reds insist payroll is tight. At Redsfest, Walt Jocketty pointedly told fans any significant moves were unlikely to come via free agency and would have to come through the trade route. The one valuable commodity tucked away in the Reds’ coffers is Pitching. It’s only by surrendering some of that valuable fireballing gelt can Cincinnati return home with the help this team needs. If Bronson Arroyo turns out to be last year’s Kyle Lohse and cannot find a suitor (despite the early interest today at the Winter Meetings), the Reds might even be able to add some rotation security by securing him to a one-year deal. That might not only provide a bridge to Robert Stephenson, it might also make another pitching deal possible that might fill more holes at the major and minor league level.

Assuming you are a non-believer and recognize the Myth of the Closer, Chapman is the one pitcher of value the Reds can move who will bring the most while affecting the team’s fortunes in 2014 least. Another year closing out games—even if the front office holds good on it’s stated desire to utilize a more high-leverage Chapman—isn’t a difference maker in my opinion. The Reds simply have more pressing needs at this juncture. What Chapman can bring back is anybody’s guess. But what we do know is that much of Baseball continues to adore their closers. GMs hold them close. Managers view them as their personal security blankets. The Mariners are “all in” and could use a closer to nail down those leads Robinson Cano gives them. The Yankees might love to replace a retired legend with a ninth inning lightshow worthy of Bright Lights, Big City.

Jonathan Papelbon is the highest profile closer out there as the Winter Meetings gear up. Although the Phillies would like to move him, his contract makes that difficult. Free agents Edward Mujica and Francisco Rodriguez are out there, too, but neither inspire. Joaquin Benoit and Grant Balfour are both 36 years old. Fernando Rodney is 37 years old and widely regarded as unreliable.

The Reds can exploit one of the great inefficiencies remaining in Baseball. They can let someone else overvalue the last three outs of the game. And in doing so, they can mitigate the loss of Choo. Or they can fill the void at second base should they succeed in divesting themselves of Phillips. Perhaps even grab a coveted MLB-ready prospect to replenish the minors and stay young. Not to mention, they can let the rest of their already expensive bullpen earn their keep.

The Closer has become this revolving door. You see it each year. The Pirates lose Joel Hanrahan—then along comes Jason Grilli. Daniel Bard had the Red Sox thinking they were set for years—now it’s Koji Uehara’s turn to be the ninth inning Batman. I remember when Brian Wilson was the guy by the Bay—Sergio Romo did okay, right Reds fans?

Trade Chapman? The Reds can do this. The Chapman Experiment is over. The Reds know this.

Don’t they?


Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 95 Comments

  1. Didn’t Baltimore just trade their closer, whom I believe had a pretty decent year last year? I don’t recall them getting anything that WOWED me in return. I would have to wonder what the Reds would pull for Chapman that would make it worth dealing him? Why not just leave him as the closer for the next two seasons then go from there.

  2. I like stevechoen’s point in the last thread. Go to Spring Training and let Chapman see the opportunity by trading Homer Matt Kemp for instance and go to camp without a 5th starter defined. Chapman could easily step into that spot.

    Chapman has a very bad agent if he allows him to continue to say he can only close. He will end up costing Chapman $25.0 million on his next contract. He is a $10.0 per year 5 year contract as a reliever. He would command $20.0 mil per year as a starter.

    I need to revise my earlier statement as I reread my post. His agent will cost him $10.0 mil per year and on a 5-7 year deal, that is a lot of chalupas

  3. Well said. If he is not amenable to starting, move him. It is that simple.

  4. An awesome offense negates the need for an elite closer. How many times did the Reds enter the 9th inning in 2013 with more than a 3 run lead? Not very often.
    Nonetheless, if I have to choose between Aroldis Chapman the Closer and an elite RH bat in LF, I would go for the bat.

  5. I don’t want this to be just another “bash Dusty” post, but I really think the Chapman mess is part of Baker’s tainted legacy here. If not for Dusty, Chapman would already be a starter and we wouldn’t have this drama.

    The whole Chapman situation has been so frustrating to watch. We sign one of the best young starting pitchers in the world to a relatively cheap contract and end up messing it up completely by turning him into an average closer (an admittedly fun one to watch, however). Having him in relief in 2010 was a good idea (see: David Price), but I think that lit up Dusty’s Christmas Tree and he couldn’t get it out of his head that Chapman was “closer” material. Unbelievable that the Reds brass didn’t force Chapman’s move to the rotation for the good of the team, regardless of what Baker thought.

    At this point, the Reds really need to trade Chapman. There are teams who overvalue “proven closers,” so he should return a good package. Let him be wasted somewhere else and get whatever we can from him now.

    • @francisp: sure but Dusty was enabled by front office/ownership in this matter so blame or bashing can be shared with Dusty by plenty in Reds organization. Now its another case of “What if” to go along with other similar ones of “What if Cueto hadn’t” or “What if Votto was” blah blah.

      Worst case, Reds have 3 more years of control of a dominant “name” closer that in case Reds have one of those down years, he can be flipped to some team in a stretch run.

      • @doctor: That’s about where I am at on the matter too. If the Reds can trade him now for a really good piece, then I’d say go for it. It’s possible that the value isn’t really there however, especially considering that he became arbitration eligible and his initial contract is basically bonus money now. I’m not sure how that bonus structure works if he’s moved in a deal.

        I also agree with you that Chapman not starting isn’t all Dusty’s fault. The organization could have pushed harder and Chapman expressing how he’d prefer closing had something to do with it I’m sure.

  6. Cosign! I completely support this. 100%.

  7. From today’s LA Times regarding Matt Kemp:

    “I’d be surprised if it doesn’t happen,” said Dave Stewart, the former major league pitcher who represents Kemp.

    Stewart revealed that Kemp was less than truthful when he insisted his surgically repaired left shoulder didn’t bother him.
    “Any time he tried to lift weights, it caused irritation,” Stewart said. “He went the whole season without any upper-body work.”
    “The condition of the shoulder has improved dramatically as a result of a procedure Kemp underwent in early October. With Kemp back to lifting weights, Stewart anticipates his trademark power will return. Kemp hit a career-high 40 home runs in 2011.”

    There could be some hope. Maybe. I’d rather go for Stanton, but…,0,4277030.story#ixzz2n0dsYcBH,0,4277030.story#ixzz2n0dYhTDP

    • @WVRedlegs: What is the fascination with Stanton? He is seldom a guy who plays a full season so you will need a back up for him. Except for his arm he is very average defensively and his arm is a waste in LF. We will have to see how this plays out, but I sincerely doubt that the Reds are very interested in him. If they are going to get a LF, it would only be wise to get one for a year as Earvin, Rodriguez, LaMarre, Hamilton, and Winker are in the pipeline so if they get someone, then they would be wise to use one of these guys in a trade(perhaps even a few) The Reds are going to get an extra boost in power from Mesoraco and I am looking for good third years from Cozart and Frazier. A CF(maybe), a lead off hitter, a back up for short and third are much higher priorities. The Reds have some pitching,especially in the bullpen that could be moved and there are guys like Soto that probably need to be removed from the 40 man that could be filler.

      • @redmountain:

        What is not to like?? He just turned 24 years old a month ago. He stands 6’6″ and 240 lbs. His arm isn’t wasted in LF as you suggest. It would be an immense improvement over Ludwick, et al. He hit 34 HR’s in 2011, 37 in 2012, and 24 in an injury filled year in 2013. Something the Reds #4 hole in the lineup has screamed for for 3 years now. Enough said.

        • @redmountain:

          What is not to like?? He just turned 24 years old a month ago. He stands 6’6″ and 240 lbs.His arm isn’t wasted in LF as you suggest.It would be an immense improvement over Ludwick, et al. He hit 34 HR’s in 2011, 37 in 2012, and 24 in an injury filled year in 2013.Something the Reds #4 hole in the lineup has screamed for for 3 years now. Enough said.

          I agree 100%. Aroldis to Miami for Stanton (with others involved on at least the Reds’ part) only makes sense for both teams.

        • @WVRedlegs:

          Stanton’s slash for last 3 years.
          ’11- .262/.356/.537
          ’12- .290/.361/.608
          ’13- .249/.365/.480

          This time last year, we jumped for joy when WJ got some OF with a .373 OBP. A .365 OBP in an injury year? I’ll take it, plus his slugging % is much better than Choo’s was, except last year when he was injured.

      • @redmountain: The problem with LF is that we keep hoping for find a great fielder who can hit. The best LF brings a bat to the ballpark. Just learn to play the corners and hit the cutoff man.

      • @redmountain: Stanton is a 12.0 WAR player in just 3 1/2 big league seasons, that’s more than Bruce has in 5 full seasons. He’d basically be the Reds second most valuable offensive player after Votto.

  8. This saga has been so disheartening. The way the Reds have handled this is nothing short of a tragedy – for the player and the club. We absolutely have to trade him now. I hope we can make some lemonade out of these here lemons.

  9. Mujica is signed. Take him off your list.

  10. I am in the group that believes scoring 3 runs in the first inning reduces the need for a closer. So Chapman is either a starter, a situational reliever or he’s trade meat. As a guy without any shoulder or elbow problems, he’s fairly clean.

    Face it. The Reds are going to have to decide where they want to go. Another year or two of waiting till next year will continue to erode the fan base and that 2.4 million will slither back to 1.9 million.

    Ain’t nobody gonna come out to watch this team play .500 ball.

    We’re locked into believing the only guy who can lead off is the center fielder, that Ludwick has to back cleanup and we somehow have this magical ability to score a lot of runs in a homer-heaven ballpark.

    This isn’t going to work very well. I hate to see our favorites being traded but it’s not the first time in Reds history that we’ve traded some of our favorites.

  11. I say move Chapman, but I don’t see it. The Reds could be playing up “Mr. No-Hitter” (I understand no hitters aren’t really all that special, but the common fan would disagree I think), but instead they play up “Mr. 105” who topped out at 102 last season. Not that 102 is insignificant, but seriously. The Reds could play up Homer Bailey, build some fanfare around him and make him a crowd favorite, yet they use Chapman to sell tickets. The Bailey ship has sailed. Homer has at most one more season as a Red. Chapman is here for the remainder of his contract. BP probably too. Facts of life. Sad facts, but facts nonetheless (please prove me wrong Mr. Walt. Please).

  12. Another revolving door closer: Jason Motte goes down, Mjuica appears out of nowhere. Then Rosenthal. Jason Grilli goes down, enter Marc Melancon. On and on and on.

    “Inefficiency” is just a polite way of saying unbelievable waste of talent. Unfortunately, the Reds seem to be one of those organizations locked into this incredibly ill-conceived way of looking at baseball. What a mismanagement of a gigantic resource.

    The saddest part of all is that the team has convinced itself that Chapman is a dominant closer, when in fact, Chapman blows a pretty normal percentage of saves. Does anyone really think there would be more than a game or two difference in save-opportunities-converted between Chapman and J. J. Hoover.

    The Reds – obviously – should trade Chapman if they otherwise are consigning him to the bullpen. I’ve been saying that since 2010.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I disagree that Chapman isn’t a dominant closer. You don’t have the type of numbers Chapman rings up without being dominant. A dominant closer is still going to have variance in the form of a few bad pitches or the unfortuantely well-timed HR by the other team. Perhaps Closers have less variables than starting pitchers, but there is still a huge problem with being results-oriented.

      I agree that Hoover would make a perfectly fine closer for the team. However, he likely wouldn’t be as dominant as Chapman would. You can’t replace 14 K/9. (counterpoint: perhaps Hoover wouldn’t be so volatile as Chapman. Chapman’s walks come in bunches)

      I honestly think the Reds unwittingly backed themselves into a corner with Chapman. They failed to realize just how much his value would plummet upon making him a closer, maybe they actually believed they could convert him to a starter this year after, or maybe they thought they’d simply win a pennant/WS and the reward outweighed the risk.

      The sad truth of it all is that maybe he is now worth more to the Reds organization than to other teams on the trade market. Few teams keep extra starting caliber OFs/position players on their bench, and other organizations realize that starting OFs are more scarce than closers. The Reds might be stuck in the unenviable spot of either taking a lower tier player for Chapman or taking a few prospects for him. As Chapman used up his service time and once the Reds manager + players + Chapman started opening their big mouths on his preferences, the Reds lost all flexibility.

      The absurdity of the whole situation is amazing but the Reds won’t be able to unload him for anything approaching his value as a closer unless they either find the perfect match (a team with a surplus of needed position players and a vacuum at Closer), or he is packaged with other other talent. In many ways, Chapman’s value looks a lot like a player who has become a toxic asset -either the Reds are willing to take a loss or they have to continue as is and hope he performs at an high level.

      • @CP: I also think that the Reds would break their keyboard trying to accept a deal from another team who valued Chapman as a starter. There just aren’t any teams left that want to take on that risk. Last spring training he worth a lot, this spring training he won’t be. Time + more information has destroyed his trade value.

      • @CP: Dominant or not, most pitchers in MLB can get 3 outs in an inning most of the time without giving up many runs. Control and ground balls … the strikeout is fun for the home team … but just 3 outs is good enough. Almost anybody on the staff can pitch an inning of scoreless ball with a lead in the 9th inning. Actually, all of them can.

        • @Johnu1: Uh yeah, what’s your point? I think the modern closer role is dumb, but no one is arguing that. Chapman is by far the best reliever on the team though. I think Hoover, Marshall, and/or a healthy Broxton could all fill the closer job capably, but…dem saves

          • @CP: Personally, I prefer an 8-run lead going into the 9th. My point, exactly, is that the defined closer is obsolete and wastes a valuable pitching position. I have no other point. Anybody in the bullpen can close a game. If they can’t get 3 hitters out, they belong in Louisville.

      • I disagree that Chapman isn’t a dominant closer. You don’t have the type of numbers Chapman rings up without being dominant. A dominant closer is still going to have variance in the form of a few bad pitches or the unfortuantely well-timed HR by the other team.

        Then there’s no such thing as a “dominant closer.” He may well be a dominant pitcher, who pitches in a closer role. But if he’s not closing 95%+ of the opportunities, I really couldn’t care less about his strikeout rate. Put him in a different role – where he enters the game with runners on base – and yeah, his K-rate and peripherals matter. But closer is probably the only place on the diamond where being “results-oriented” is the right approach.

        • Then there’s no such thing as a “dominant closer.”He may well be a dominant pitcher, who pitches in a closer role.But if he’s not closing 95%+ of the opportunities, I really couldn’t care less about his strikeout rate.Put him in a different role – where he enters the game with runners on base – and yeah, his K-rate and peripherals matter.But closer is probably the only place on the diamond where being “results-oriented” is the right approach.

          Are we really looking to debate meaningless nomenclature? There is no such thing as a dominant relief pitcher, just pitchers who pitch really well for short outings! 😀

          Jesus Walt, make a trade. Reds fans are going bonkers.

          The current closer role is ridiculous, gotcha. I get it. Almost everyone gets it. But create a chart of all the known closers for 2014, and Chapman is in the top tier, at or near the top. I don’t care if you call if you call him a “Dominant Closer”, an Elite Closer, or a $12 salad. It doesn’t matter. But Chapman is about as dominant as any relief pitcher gets. Jim Johnson had a 94% save % in 2012, I’d still rather have Chapman with his 88% on the mound. I don’t care about what happened, I care about what will happen.

  13. Can we please get off the idea that someone other than Ludwick will be in Left Field?
    He has a contract that secures him as our LF’er this season. Yea if someone else outplays him, then I am all for starting said person. Remember when everyone was on board with Luddy re-signing? And he gets hurt being an aggressive baserunner on Opening Day and messes his power sholder up.
    He came back too soon but when he did he played through the pain and played well I might add. He turned himself into a contact hitter because he knew with his bum shoulder he couldn’t be the power hitter he normally is. Give him an offseason to rehab properly, plug him in the 4 or 5 spot and watch him hit 20 or so Home Runs.

    • @thebigd19: Ludwick is penciled in as the LF, for sure. As for us, the fans, we can keep hoping to upgrade. There’s not much chance WJ will act on our wishes, but … hey, it’s just too cold to nothing.

    • @thebigd19: Uhh, no, I don’t remember when everyone was on board with his re-signing…

  14. Dom Brown is available in Philly. That’s an intriguing option.

    • @hermanbates: The Phils are looking for cost controlled pitching. I would think Leake matches up well w/ 2 years of control left. In both Brown and Leake, you have guys sorta written off a year ago who made good on their potential. Leake knows how to pitch in a bandbox and could excel in some of the spacious parks like Miami/New York/Atlanta. Brown would give us 4 years of control and could fill the LF black hole quite well. You could go lefty/righty with Votto-Mez-Bruce-Frazier-Brown-Phillips.

  15. If Price in whom I trust, has belief that Chapman is only going to relieve, and you could trade Chapman to the Dodgers for say Matt Kemp and cash….

    in a hearbeat.

    If Price in whom I trust, says that he can make Chapman believe in himself and that the best thing for the team and Chapman as a player is to start, then I say keep him

    If Price in whom I trust, thinks he can get 120 innings out of him in the bull pen, then I am also OK with that.

    If the mindset is as “dusty” as the last managers progressive thinking and chapman is only going to pitch 60 innings, well then we are a 4th place team going backwards

  16. I would be terribly disheartened if this team were to be managed back into mediocrity. It’s hard enough to find talent anyway but to have some and watch it squandered in brain-dead policies. Then again, we could be overstating Chapman’s role. Perhaps he is too flaky, too wild, too inconsistent … and controlling his innings makes good sense. I assume the pitching coach has something of a clue.

    Doesn’t mean I like seeing the Missile sit for 12 days in a row while the team pretends it’s scoring runs.

  17. Other than the following minor point, I agree 100%: people want to see Chapman close. That translates into gate receipts and perhaps Sunday Night games on ESPN. More exposure is better for the Reds – except for when they play StL. on Sunday night. I am still trying to forget the last game they played. Ouch.

    But I digress. I think the Reds should have traded him before last season. While his value is still high, it will never be has high as the end of that year.

    I’m not sold that some combination of Hoover, Broxton, Marshall and LeCure will be more successful than Aroldis, but there simply is too much $$$ tied up in closers.

  18. I have been saying for 18 months now to trade him. His value(to some) is high now. He IS GOING TO WALK in 2 years and/or arbitration will make him absolutely unaffordable.

    He is far and away the best bargaining chip we have- USE IT! Fill other areas of need and that will more than make up for the 60 innings he gives. I like him, but he just isn’t worth the ongoing issues and what is going to happen with that contract in the near future.

  19. The handling of Chapman has been a disaster, but clearly the Reds have decided that it’s a disaster that happened in the past and they aren’t going to try to undo it.

    It’s also starting to look more and more like the Reds aren’t going to do anything of substance this offseason. Moving Chapman to the rotation gave the Reds some rotation depth that they could trade from. We already know that they aren’t going to sign a big free agent, and Choo’s really the only one left anyway.

    So if they’re going to make a trade, who are they going to move? Most of us have been speculating that it would be Leake or Bailey (based on the idea that they might have a surplus of starters. But look at the pitching staff:



    That’s 5 starters, a 6th in AAA, and 7 relievers. That’s a whole staff, with basically no depth.

    They could still try to trade Phillips, but then who plays 2B?

    If Walt was going to remake this team it was going to take several moves, and at this point I’m not sure I see a single one.

  20. The Reds don’t know what they know, they don’t know who they are now, and they don’t know where they’re going or how to get there. Everyone who thought we were in for a culture change for the better when Dusty Baker and his old-fashioned ideas were banished is fooling themselves as long as Jocketty is the GM.

    As it stands now, all they can really do with the rest of the offseason is make more water-treading moves at best, and at worst, fall backward greatly, because if Bob means what he says and the trade market is the only way they can upgrade, they’ve already handicapped themselves by not having any decent pieces available to trade.

    If they want to trade BP, what makes anyone think that just because the Yankees can afford him that they have anything worthwhile in the hopper? Same deal with Chapman. Even if they did trade him, who’s going to give up something huge for a flake pitcher who will want a lot of money down the line to pitch the ninth and has never really been prepared to start? You really think someone’s going to part with a big bat for a project pitcher just because he throws 100-plus?

    This is a mess the Reds have created, and they don’t even appear to have a plan for how to get out.

    • @Sam Jackson:

      Everyone who thought we were in for a culture change for the better when Dusty Baker and his old-fashioned ideas were banished is fooling themselves as long as Jocketty is the GM.

      I want to say all kinds of things that will be me banned here about this statement. But I will refrain and simply ask that you wait and see before throwing out completely bogus and asinine statements like this.

      • @TC: I suppose this introduces the question:

        What’s a new-fashioned idea?

        The personnel on this team is the same as last year.

      • @TC: I don’t disagree with the comment. I want to be proven wrong, but with the same personnel, and only one big move happening (Price), I’m not sure there’s a whole lot to expect.

  21. This from mlbtr,
    “Sources have indicated to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Mark Trumbo is “in play” as the Angels discuss trades with other teams.”
    “Angels GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that there has been “fairly heavy traffic” on Trumbo, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange Country Register.”
    “There are 12 teams in the mix for Trumbo, according to Heyman, who suggests that there could be a fit with the Diamondbacks.”

    I can only hope that WJ is one of the 12.

    • @WVRedlegs: Trade rumors are fun discussions. Heyman and Rosenthal are the sources for the rumors and they quote each other half the time.

      • @Johnu1: I read somewhere that 8 sport agencies represent something like 75% of players. (I tried to dig that back up but alas a quick google search came up empty.) I’m sure they make deals all the time. “Give me breaking information and I’ll write a flattering article about the player of your choosing.”

  22. Angels are shopping Mark Trumbo, according to mlbtr. Last week they were not going to trade him.
    The same might be true with BP. You never really know.

  23. Phillips, and Bailey OR Cingrani (probably would end up being Bailey) for Kemp or Stanton.
    Keep Chapman, let him start, sit back and watch him win 8 Cy Youngs in a row.

    • @w_c_hughes:

      Wow. Where to start….

      You realize (injury-prone) Kemp is owed >$120MM? Where do we get that money? And why trade Cingrani, who’s under team control and relatively cheap for what – five more years? This makes absolutely no sense from the Reds’ perspective.

      As to your comment about Chapman and Cy Youngs – it would take 2-3 years to get his inning counts up to the level where he’d be a serious contender, assuming that he has the stuff to be a serious contender (big assumption), he’ll be long gone by then.

  24. Don’t mean to double post, but the boxed quote at the start got me thinking. It seems like this is the rationale every. single. year. “One more year to evaluate Chapman, then we’ll decide”. Its like Tony Romo for the Cowboys. Every year is a determining year. Very frustrating. I know Jocketty is smarter than Jerry Jones, but they’re making the same stinking mistake.

  25. So the Reds trade Chapman. Who wants him and what do you get for him that is ML ready to make an impact now?

    I saw on here Leake for Dominic Brown. I like that. Lets act like that just happened and now we can move Chapman and Ludwick so Brown can play daily. I don’t see a match.

    Let’s go another route. Trade Phillips for a lead off hitter. Then trade Chapman and either Bailey or Cingrani for a power bat. Would those two plus a top prospect get you Matt Kemp? Something like that?

    I’m trying to piece something together guys, I’m struggling.

    • @rfay00: You don’t seem to value MLB-seasoned pitchers as high as I think might be useful.

      • @Johnu1: Then what would you expect to get from Bailey or Chapman?

        • @rfay00: I try not to evaluate a player’s worth compared to another. A pitcher is a pitcher. Homer Bailey is not Greg Reynolds, although both fill out their tax return ‘occupation line’ the same.

          But I do know that a lot of guys named Corey Patterson will look a lot more like guys named Bryce Harper if teams pitch more guys named Greg Reynolds than guys named Homer Bailey.

  26. Could this be WJ as a small market club being creative in the covering CF hole left by Choo?

    Roch Kubatko‏@masnRoch
    Duquette said he anticipates that Rajai Davis will sign in the next day or 2. Wouldn’t bite when asked about #orioles interest

    Roch Kubatko‏@masnRoch
    Told #Orioles aren’t in on Rajai Davis

    Skip Schumaker v. RHP
    .300/.357/.395 for career
    .265/.338/.333 for 2013

    Rajai Davis v. LHP
    .294/.354/.425 for career
    .319/.383/.474 for 2013
    45 SB & 6 CS in 2013

  27. If you want trade rumors, there’s someone who’s appeared on Twitter who has implied he works for the Reds FO who’s been “leaking” rumors. I don’t think many people are believing him right now, but he has brought up some interesting trade scenarios.

    • @rhayex: He had me until something like BP, Ludwick, two more for Chris Sale and another…Chris Sale isn’t going anywhere.

      • @rfay00: Actually, what he said was BP, Bailey, and two from Chapman, Leake, Cingrani, Stephenson, Langfeld, and Travieso. If that’s the case, I could easily see it happening. Plus, he said that it all depended on if Bailey would sign an extension with the Angels.

        • @rhayex: But he did say that the Angels are overvaluing Trumbo and they can’t compete with the Dbacks offer.

      • @rfay00: Sale was brought up in a “we’re bored, but what if…” conversation by Nightengale. Until then, his name wasn’t even on the Soviet Union’s list of undesirables. So any creative guy could bring up his name in the “wow, I forgot all about him” phase of the rumor-mongering.

    • @rhayex: I’d think it’s really hard to make that stuff up. A lot of this seems to make sense generally—–Homer extension being the lynchpin to all the corresponding moves. The idea of packaging Homer and BP makes a ton of sense. Freeing up money to sign Choo.

      My guess is this will be shortlived because snitches get stitches, but it’s utterly fascinating nonetheless!

    • @rhayex:

      If legit, that is very fascinating insight. Sounds like the next 24 hours could be very interesting. This shows alot is going on behind the scenes with the Reds FO. Just have to find the right deal(s) and pull the trigger.

  28. In other words, we aren’t going to believe Chapman will start until he starts.

  29. The question is what Chapman would/could actually bring in a trade. The Marlins could get a lot more–a major-league ready super prospect plus a spare part or two–for Stanton, than a guy like Chapman whom they would have to pay at a market rate (or near) until his free agent year.

    I like Kemp, but don’t know if that is economically feasible.

    Other than that, is there really anybody available who will produce more WAR/$ than Chapman should over the next season or two?

    My main off-season hope is that Billy Hamilton will add some upper body strength, through maturation and conditioning. His hand/eye coordination is fine, but a little more strength will prevent the bat from being knocked out of his hands as much.

  30. I hope they trade him so there’s no more discussion of him on this blog.

  31. I enjoy reading all of the blogs and posts on here, but seldom find myself on the same page with the majority. I am amazed by how many people think the role of the closer is meaningless and could be filled by anybody. The reason that closers make money on par with starting pitchers is that the last 3 outs are not mere outs, but instead represent the other team’s desperation. Good hitters are even better when the game is on the line, so this must be countered with a dominant closer. Not acknowledging this is simply not taking the mental aspect of the game into account, which is a HUGE part.

    Chapman has PROVEN to have staying power and offers a LONG-TERM solution for the closer, so it is in this role that he is most valuable, both to our team and in a trade (although trading him would be a big mistake if one shares my view, which I do not expect from most according to what I have read). It is a simple matter of perspective. You either value this role you do not. Obviously, I do.

    • Good hitters are even better when the game is on the line,

      False statement. Most hitters, even the good ones, are the same across a career, regardless of situation.

      The reason that closers make money on par with starting pitchers is that the last 3 outs are not mere outs, but instead represent the other team’s desperation.

      False. They don’t make money on par with starters and it’s a market inefficiency to think you have to spend big to be successful. As is frequently acknowledged around here– look at the ’90 Reds bullpen and saves and decide if the game is so different from then that a team needs “one guy, with the fastball to unite them all” to win.

      Chapman has PROVEN to have staying power and offers a LONG-TERM solution for the closer, so it is in this role that he is most valuable, both to our team and in a trade

      He’s proven to be smack-dab average in completing the role as assigned. He does it with more K’s than most, but at the end of the day… he’s right up there with where Cordero was in terms of doing the job. It’s a matter of perspective to say that 60 IP is > 150IP.

      • @Matt WI: +1. Chappy’s save rate is the same as Coco Cordero, and Coco drove us all crazy. Chappy has the best arm on the roster, and to use him in one inning spurts, 3 out of every 8 days, is a waste of a resource. It’s like playing AJ Green only on third downs in the Red Zone.

        If you won’t use him properly, trade him.

      • @Matt WI: Many good hitters DO have higher BA/RISP than BA over the course of entire seasons, soit is STILL a relevant part of the game regardless of whether this phenomenon translates over the course of an entire career.

        I should have worded it differently to say that GOOD closers make money on par with MOST starting pitchers. Admittedly, we have seen inflated salaries for some starting pitchers in recent times (esp. those on big market teams), but my statement has been a reality in the game for quite some time.

        Chapman has proven to be far above smack-dab average. He has ranked in the top 2 in K/9, top 4 in BA, and has not finished below 7th in total saves in the two seasons since taking over as closer. The only other closer to accomplish this feat in the same span is Kimbrel.

        • @EinSteve: I don’t intend to do one of those point-by-point stats arguments.

          The reason closers are valued highly is because the game has created that scenario. The teams have found specific skill sets from various pitchers, assigned them to that role and measured their value on perceived outcomes.

          In other words, Chapman comes into a game in the 9th, gets 3 outs, the Reds win, the save is recorded and that’s how the system is supposed to work.

          Any other pitcher in the bullpen could have done the same thing.

          The key point here is whether a manager (or a league) believes that the only way to get those 3 outs is to use a pitcher with a specific skill set, such as Chapman’s.

          I contend that anybody who is on a big-league roster can get 3 hitters out in any inning. If he can’t, he needs to be pitching in the minor leagues.

          Chapman is an exciting addition to a great finish on a ball game with 30,000 cheering fans. Manny Parra could achieve the same result, is all anybody is saying.

          If Chapman has a unique skill set, wonderful. But that skill set isn’t required to get 3 outs in the 9th. Ground balls and pitches in the strike zone will get it done.

          • @Johnu1: I agree that any pitcher should be expected to make 3 outs, but you need to give yourself the BEST chance possible as often as possible by using your BEST arm in critical situations (I THINK most of us agree that Chapman possesses a superior skill set compared to the other relievers on the team). While using Chapman in this role restricts his innings, it allows him to impact MORE GAMES. If we could add another pitch or two to his repertoire, or if he demonstrated better command and control, I would fully endorse the notion of making him a starter. I think he is too one dimensional. Feel free to disagree – I will not accuse you of trolling 🙂

          • @EinSteve: The best argument I have ever heard against the “proven closer” came from the excellent Joe Posnanski from SI. The full article is well worth the read as well:

            It’s hard to summarize him because he’s great, but this is the gist of it. Check out these numbers:

            1950s: .948
            1960s: .946
            1970s: .948
            1980s: .951
            1990s: .949
            2000s: .954
            2010s: .952

            Know what they are? They are the winning percentages of teams that entered the 9th inning with a lead. Since brand new HOFer TLR invented the modern closer (his biggest sin against baseball?) with Dennis Eckersley in 1988 winning percentage has gone up….0.05%? Obviously, this is a bit flawed, as a team could enter with a lead of 10 runs, 3 runs, or 1 run. You don’t use your closer all the time! So he looks at “save” situations.

            Winning % with 3 run lead:

            1960s: .974
            1970s: .977
            1980s: .975
            1990s: .963
            2000s: .976

            Winning % with 2 run lead:

            1960s: .930
            1970s: .925
            1980s: .941
            1990s: .936
            2000s: .931

            Winning % with a 1 run lead:

            1960s: .844
            1970s: .850
            1980s: .852
            1990s: .846
            2000s: .848

            The overarching theme here, is that teams who never entertained the thought of a three out save (70’s and 60’s, most of 80’s) more or less did exactly the same in terms of WINNING as the teams with their (highly compensated) fire and brimstone eating, flame throwing, three out specialized closer.

          • @Jared Wynne: This was a great read, so thanks for that. This effectively shows that the strategies used by managers to change and adapt to changes in the game over the years has not had much of an impact on the overall winning percentage of teams that entered the 9th inning with the lead. That is, it does not show whether closers in TODAY’S game impact those winning percentages. For this, we would need to see winning percentages when the so-called best reliever is used as the closer compared to winning percentages when the so-called best is not used over the course of an entire season. The problem is, we would not have any teams volunteer NOT to use their best reliever in closing situations? I wonder why…Is it because they are foolish to think that using their best arm actually makes a difference, or is it because they are not foolish enough to believe that is does not?

          • @EinSteve: Ha ha ha ha. The Reds did it for years with CoCo! All jokes aside, I think the point is that getting to the ninth with the lead is the key determinant, not particularly who goes out and throws the baseball to finish the game. Using your best reliever to keep the game within a run or two is much more important than “insuring” that the opposition doesn’t come back in the 9th with a three run lead.

          • @Jared Wynne: These are very telling numbers. They show that the modern limited use of a closer has not developed because it helps win games. And my problem with closers is not the idea of having such a role – holding late leads is important – but the way it’s “devolved” into a role of limited value.

            Closers used to pitch multiple innings. That also meant there were multiple pitchers on a staff closing games – protecting that 3 run lead in the 9th was not regarded as the sacred provence of one guy.

            There’s been a backlash recently by some forward thinking managers against the LaRussa concept. I’ve noticed that John Farrell, for example, does not use his closer “by the book”. And Price has already indicated he doesn’t buy into it.

          • @EinSteve: I think we disagree slightly on definition.

            Chapman has a UNIQUE skill set, not a SUPERIOR skill set.

            He throws 101 mph. Manny Parra can hit 95. The difference is obvious to a hitter but it’s still location, location, location.

            In that respect, I see no need to pigeon-hole any pitcher into a closer’s role. It adds to the excitement of the game, but when it fails, you end up using guys in the 10th, 11th, 12th who aren’t closers anyhow.

      • @Matt WI: I feel like this guy is trollin’, but the other thing: If closing games is a skill, where are all the closers that have had sustained, long term success? There is basically Mariano & Nathan & maybe Papelbon. Then you start reaching for guys like Kimbrel, and Chapman who have had great, albeit short term success. Everyone else is extremely suspect.

        Anyone who plays fantasy baseball and pays attention knows this-there are maybe 2-4 closers you can count on to put up elite stats year after year (and surprise…they tend to play on the perenially good teams). After that, it is usually a crapshoot. The DL and waiver wire is full of burned out closers.

        • @CP: I suppose Trevor Hoffman would come to mind as on the short list. It gets pretty thin after that.

    • @EinSteve: A share your views Steve…you are not alone. Most teams that win world series’ have great closers.

      • @VaRedsFan: Glad to know it! I expect many others appreciate the value of a good closer, even if they choose to do so quietly.

  32. Price on Votto… a subtle shift… let Votto be Votto, but swing harder in hitter friendly counts, basically:–mlb.html

    • @Matt WI: I think Michelangelo’s should have used more blue on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

      • @Matt WI: I think Michelangelo’s should have used more blue on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

        Crap! I hate it when I mess up a sarcastic remark with grammar mistakes. Takes a bit of the sting out of it.

  33. It’s becoming clear to me that Chapman is one more unlikable player on a roster that has too many of them already.

    • @Chris Garber: Can we allow a moment to take one collective step back and behold the prima donna complex that Dusty Baker created on this roster?

      “There may be no I in team, but there’s definitely a ME.”

  34. If the talks are true about Trumbo to ARI, Skaggs to LAA, Eaton to CHW, and Santiago to LAA, why can’t the Reds be that 3rd team instead of the White Sox? I would love to get Eaton for CF and give up an RP or Leake.

  35. This is a bit off topic and a random post but if you guys could help me out that would be great.
    Now that Bronson is gone who are the longest tenured Reds in order? I know BP is the new current player that has been on the team the longest. Who are the next 4 or 5 or so? Cueto has to be up there.

    • @thebigd19: After Votto and Bruce, the list would be pretty strange. Mike Leake (2010) might be in the top 5. Bailey, if you discount his trips to the minors, up since 2008. Heisey, maybe.

      That’s pretty weird to even mention Heisey.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2014 Reds, Aroldis Chapman, Chapmania, Editorials, Reds - General


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