Over at CBS Sports, Danny Knobler has an interesting piece on Aroldis Chapman:
The Reds paid $225 million to keep Joey Votto, and $72.5 million to keep Brandon Phillips.
They’re willing to spend money. Even so . . .
What exactly is this team doing with a $30 million setup man?
It’s not that Aroldis Chapman isn’t worth the money. By this year’s evidence — no runs allowed in 19 1/3 innings, with 34 strikeouts and a .296 opponents OPS — he may worth every penny.
He may well be the best pitcher the Reds have.
Or the best pitcher anyone has.
So . . . what’s he doing pitching the eighth inning?
The Reds, from general manager Walt Jocketty on down, believe that the 24-year-old Chapman’s future is as a starter — a dominant starter. They all say that he will be a starter, and everyone around the Reds says that Chapman wants to be a starter.
There’s a lot more; go read the entire piece. It’s a decent examination of how we got where we are: with one of the greatest pitchers in the world in the bullpen, while nearly everyone contends that he’s heading to the rotation at some point.
On a related note, I really think we need to do an in-depth study on Aroldis Chapman’s drop in effectiveness when he pitches more than one day in a row. If you saw him today, you know he was human (as opposed to super-human, as usual). He wasn’t awful; there weren’t any balls hit particularly hard, and he was victimized by the Drew Stubbs error. But he wasn’t sharp, and he wasn’t the same pitcher we have grown accustomed to seeing.
If Chapman really can’t pitch more than one day in a row (and I don’t know, based on all available evidence, whether he can or he can’t), the Reds will need to get serious about getting him in the rotation. Soon. Given the hole that would create in the bullpen, however, I’m not sure the Reds will be able to make that move in the near future.
(We desperately need Bill Bray and Nick Masset to get healthy.)