Many at Redleg Nation believe Aroldis Chapman
should be moved to the starting rotation.Ã‚Â In fact, we’ve held that view all year, based on the idea that a dominant starting pitcher who covers 180-200 innings has substantially more value for a team than a second left-handed set-up reliever who throws 70 innings.
Should those of us who hold this view find yesterday’s words from Reds’ pitching coach Bryan Price to be encouraging news?Ã‚Â John Fay interviewed Price and reported:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t guarantee anything because it will be an organizational decision,Ã¢â‚¬Â Price said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“However, I do think at some point heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to have a chance to start. I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something we will definitely be looking at.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s filled a need for us. He helped last year late in the season and this year as the second left-hander to Billy Bray. That was a void. But I would think in near future heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be getting an opportunity to start. That was the intent when we initially signed him.Ã¢â‚¬Â [Emphasis added, gleefully.]
Price indicated his view that Chapman already has sufficient mastery of a third pitch to be an effective starter. Ã‚Â Again, from Fay’s writing:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Randy Johnson used a change-up, split-fingered pitch later in his career when he lost some velocity more so than early,Ã¢â‚¬Â Price said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“(Chapman) has a change-up and I think he has a good change-up. To say he needs it, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d say that. However, if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a serviceable pitch, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s certainly something he would have in his mix.Ã¢â‚¬Â
[Please note, Chapman was just compared to Randy Johnson by someone who actually coached Randy Johnson.]
Before you pencil Chapman in for the first pitch on Opening Day 2012, keep in mind that Price was clear right at the top of the interview that this was just his opinion and that it would be an organizational decision (translation: someone else).Ã‚Â Also, it appears the decision has not been made or at least not yet revealed to the team’s pitching coach.
I suppose one way of looking at the Price interview is as unambiguously good news.Ã‚Â On the other hand, maybe Price is trying to take his case public, concerned that he is losing the debate internally.Ã‚Â I really doubt it’s the latter, but given how Baker and Jocketty treat these issues as the equivalent of state secrets, Price’s comments were refreshingly clear and forthright.