Originally posted on Three-Way Chili  |  Last updated 5/21/12

Something had to give eventually.

No one as good as Aroldis Chapman -- or as high-paid -- remains as a set-up man out of the bullpen for long. Chapman was either destined for a spot in the starting rotation (which was my guess) or the closer's role.

Well, 28 months after the Cuban defector signed with the Reds, we have our answer, at least for now: Chapman will be Cincinnati's closer.

The 6-foot-4, 196-pound flamethrower picked up his first career save in the Reds' 5-2 win over the host New York Yankees on Sunday. That victory pushed the Reds' record to 21-19 at roughly the one-quarter mark of the season, and they now trail the St. Louis Cardinals (22-19) by just 0.5 games for first-place in the NL Central. The fact that the Reds went on a tough road trip that included two games against the Braves, two against the Mets and three against the Yankees -- and emerged with a 5-4 record, including a series win over the Bronx Bombers -- was impressive.

Anyway, let's not get away from the news of the week here. Chapman as a closer is going to be fun to watch. There will be nervous moments as he's sure to have a few off nights where he struggles with control. However, thus far this season, Chapman has showcased surprisingly-great command. He's walked just seven in 22.1 innings. That would be solid for any pitcher. But when it's someone who also has 39 strikeouts and has only given up seven hits and zero earned runs (one unearned run), it becomes amazing.

Chapman is already the third pitcher to be slotted as the Reds' closer this season. Ryan Madson was signed as a free agent to lock down the role. However, Tommy John surgery during spring training ended that idea quickly. Then left-handed set-up specialist Sean Marshall was forced into the role. I firmly believe Marshall is an outstanding reliever (not good, but outstanding), however, he's not a closer. He wasn't horrible in that role with seven saves in eight attempts, but two other times he had to be bailed out in the ninth inning (by Logan Ondrusek and Jose Arredondo, respectively). So, in all actuality, Marshall was 7-of-10 in save situations.

Therefore, the decision was made while in New York to make the change to Chapman and I think it was the right move. There's no question it's going to be interesting to see how he performs in the role. If he's able to solidify it, the Reds will have one of the best bullpens in baseball all season with Marshall and Ondrusek as top-shelf set-up men, Arredondo looking good as a mid/late-inning guy, landing JJ Hoover from the Braves in exchange for Juan Francisco appears to have been a shrewd move and Sam LeCure is a nice guy to have in the long-reliever role.

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