Found March 26, 2013 on Three-Way Chili:
  Aroldis Chapman turned in one of the best seasons by a closer in MLB history last season when he saved 38 games (in 43 opportunities) struck out an amazing 122 batters in 71.2 innings, had an ERA of just 1.51 and a WHIP of merely 0.81. Interestingly, the only season by a closer since 2004 that was on par or better than what Chapman accomplished last season … happened in the exact-same year. Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves turned in these numbers in 2012: 42 saves (45 opportunities), 116 K, 62.2 IP, 1.01 ERA, 0.65 WHIP. Eric Gagne won the Cy Young award in 2003 with the LA Dodgers when he converted all 55 of his save ops. (Steroids are a wonderful thing!) But since then, no one has approached what the Cuban Missile and Kimbrel have accomplished. So, a lot of people said the Cincinnati Reds would be crazy to move Chapman out of the closer’s role. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Others countered that it’s foolish to use a talent like Chapman – who signed with the Reds in 2010 with the intentions to be a starter – for only 70 innings per year when you could use him for 150-180 innings. Or even 200 innings in future seasons. (No way he would have reached anywhere close to 200 in 2013.) And the Reds’ brass seemed to agree with the latter assessment. When they signed Jonathan Broxton to a three-year, $21-million contract during the offseason, that locked it up as far as I was concerned. Chapman was definitely moving to the rotation. General manager Walt Jocketty – who has done a great job since taking the reins in Cincinnati in April of 2008 – even said as much. Jocketty was quoted many times over the winter that the Reds intended to move Chapman into the starting rotation and Broxton would take over as the closer. However, it wasn’t just people from the outside that chirped that the Reds were making a bad decision in moving Chapman from a role where he had already proven he could be ultra-successful. (Literally everyone on MLB Network agreed he should remain as a starter. Most Reds beat writers also questioned the move.) No, manager Dusty Baker was lockstep with them in that he preferred Chapman as a closer. Even Chapman told reporters – via translator Tomas Vera – that the bullpen is where he wanted to be. I still didn’t think too much of it. No way a shrewd GM like Jocketty would pay Broxton an average of $7 million per year to be a set-up man. Or maybe he would. Last Friday, the Reds announced that they would in fact keep Chapman in the closer’s role and would keep Mike Leake as the No. 5 starter. Last year, the Reds made it through the regular season without any of their starting pitchers getting injured. (Course, in a strange twist of fate, they couldn’t make it out of the first inning of their first playoff game without ace Johnny Cueto suffering an ailment.) If they think that is going to happen again they are out of their collective minds. Now, to be fair, Leake is pitching very well this spring and I’ve said all along it’s too early to give up on the 2009 first-round draft pick. He completely skipped the minors and was in the process of tearing up MLB as a rookie in 2010. However, he fell off big-time the second half of that season and hasn’t been the same since. Insiders say he’s regained his command while adding a few MPH on to his below-average fastball. (Maybe it’s up to average now!) There is no question the Reds have one of the best rotations in all of MLB with Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo and Leake. However, what if one of them gets hurt this year, which is bound to happen? I would have liked to see the Reds roll the dice and move Chapman to the rotation, but at the same time I’m not all that bothered by this decision. If one of the starters does get hurt, theoretically the team could then move Chapman to the rotation and Broxton to the closer’s role. But a more-likely scenario would be them using someone from Triple-A Louisville. A young guy like Tony Cingrani or Daniel Corcino, or a veteran like Armando Galarraga. The biggest problem I have with the Chapman decision is the Reds seemed to be “all in” on moving him to the rotation when they forked out all that coin for Broxton. That’s $21 million that could have been used in a much-better way if the team was going to keep Chapman in the ‘pen. Of course, the Reds will have the best bullpen in baseball this year. There is that. And last time they had an incredibly “nasty” bullpen, things worked out pretty well in Cincinnati. I’ll be back later in the week with my roster breakdown and prediction for the Reds’ 2013 record. It’s hard to be believe Opening Day against the Angels (yes, the Angels) is less-than a week away.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Ten thoughts on the current state of the Reds entering the regular season

One week from today, the Reds will be playing host to the loaded Los Angeles Angels at Great American Ball Park for their season opener. It's going to be a festive occasion full of pageantry, tradition, and dreams of what the new season may hold. Until then, the Reds still have several exhibition games left in Arizona to endure. Being that we are so close to commencement of...
SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT

Reds fan cooks 'miracle pancake' with logo

Like all other major league teams, questions abound for the Cincinnati Reds as the team prepares to embark upon its 2013 season. Who’s going to produce, how’s the bullpen going to hold up, how is the competition going to set up in the National League Central and so on and so forth. But all speculation may be for naught now, because according to one Reds fan, a pancake he recently...

Reds roster size down to 34 after two more cuts

We can now count the number of days left until Opening Day by using one hand. However, Cincinnati has yet to finalize their 25-man roster. They took a step closer on Wednesday by trimming the roster size down to 34. Southpaw Wilkin De La Rosa and right-handed pitcher Clay Hensley were given pink slips this morning and were re-assigned to the minor league camp. De La Rosa...

In brief: Isn’t it about time to start winning?

Last game Ugly, ugly score yesterday. The Reds lost to the Mariners 16-0. Homer Bailey took the brunt of it, allowing 9 runs (8 earned) on 9 hits and 2 walks through 3.1 innings. Wilkin De La Rosa gave up the next 6 (5 earned) on 5 hits and 3 walks through 1.1 innings. Compared to those two, the run apiece given up by Manny Parra and Kevin Whelan hardly seem worth mentioning. Justin...

Wednesday news and notes

The Reds offered Miguel Olivo $100,000 to report to Louisville as part of the new CBA for players with his experience level coming off of a MLB deal the year before. He has not yet decided whether he will accept it, but given that he is hitting .167 this spring, I doubt there is an offer out there for a big league deal. With that said, he may see that the Reds have two pretty good...

A trade, mock drafts and a podcast

The weekend was full of plenty of news. First and foremost was the Aroldis Chapman will close decision. While that isn’t minor league related, it does lead to minor league decisions. That may push a “loogy” out of their role that was present with Chapman as a starter, opening a spot for JJ Hoover. Of course, there are still plenty of reasons to believe that JJ Hoover winds...

Q&A: Bronson Arroyo, Master Craftsman

Bronson Arroyo has won 115 games in the past nine seasons. He’s also come up big in the postseason. But none of his success has come thanks to overpowering stuff. The Cincinnati Reds’ right-hander is a craftsman. His fastball rarely reaches 90 mph, and his breaking pitches are more varied than they are exceptional. His strengths are deception and guile. Featuring a high leg kick...

Reds to roll out even more food options at Great American Ball Park in 2013

Food offerings at stadium venues have come along way in recent years. It used to be rare to find anything besides traditional items such as hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and coke. Now, concession menus across the country have expanded to accodomate even the most fickle of eaters. The Reds have certainly done their part to stay up with the trend by offering its fans a nice blend of...

Frazier Readies for Opening Day Start

When Cincinnati broke from spring training one year ago it appeared that Todd Frazier had landed a spot on the opening day active roster until a disappointing move sent him to Louisville right before opening day. That didn’t stop him from becoming one of top run producers for the Reds last year. Now he’s ready for regular duty at third base as the Reds vie for another trip to the postseason.

Reds 11, Cubs 1

Johnny Cueto pitched six shutout innings in a smooth warmup for opening day and Todd Fraizer homered to send the Cincinnati Reds to an 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija also had a good night in his final outing before the season opener. He gave up one run and five hits in five innings, striking out five. Cueto had a hit in the third...

Cueto, Samardzija solid as Reds beat Cubs 11-1

MESA, Ariz. (AP) -- Johnny Cueto pitched six shutout innings in a smooth warmup for opening day and Todd Fraizer homered to send the Cincinnati Reds to an 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija also had a good night in his final outing before the season opener. He gave up one run and five hits in five innings, striking out five. Cueto had...

The Knee

Cincinnati entered this spring training without many questions but one of the big ones they had was the health of Joey Votto’s knee. Though comments from him indicate he’s needed a lot of extra work to prepare for their April 1 opener, the way he’s been hitting Cactus League pitching suggests he’s at least close to being back to 100%.

Redleg Nation Radio: Spring Training Week 5

Join Chad Dotson and other writers from Redleg Nation along with myself as we go on the air tonight live at 9pm EST at Blog Talk Radio. We are trying out the premium features for now, so we will be going longer than a half an hour tonight to see how it goes. We will be talking, hopefully for the last time, about Aroldis Chapman and the decision to keep him in the bullpen, Mat Latos...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.