Would Aroldis Chapman be a better starter for the Reds than Jason Maquis?

(Asking for a general manager.)

123 Responses

  1. Zak

    Chapman isn’t made to be starter. He would need tommy john after starting 2-3 games because he throws too hard and his pitch count would be way too high. We’ve seen how fatigued he gets when he throws more then 40+ pitches. Chapman is made to be a closer, and he does a fine job at it.

    • jdx19

      If he were a started he’d likely not throw 100mph every pitch. Randy Johnson never needed TJ and he threw plenty hard, as well. Nolan Ryan, etc. The list goes on and on. There is no correlation between throwing hard and needing surgery. It’s aobut workload and genetics, I’d assume. I’m also not a doctor.

      • Kyle Farmer

        I’d add work ethic as well. Read a great biography on Nolan Ryan last spring and he was extremely dedicated to his workout schedule that went FAR beyond what anyone else was doing at the time. To me, that’s the unanswered question about Chapman.

      • Grand Salami

        Clemons blew out his elbow back when then injury still ended careers and came back stronger. I wonder how long he enhance his performance – and I’m not referring to viagra.

      • Grand Salami

        Clemens. Sorry, that’s what I get for growing up and only calling him the Rocket.

    • Chris Miller

      Not true, and you don’t have anything to base that comment on. All closer’s get fatigued at 40+ pitches.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Chapman started in Cuba, the minors, and for the Reds in spring training. When he did it for the Reds in spring training, he was the best starter the Reds had, twice. You comment does not reflect reality, it reflects the media narrative.

      • Frogger

        Chappy has nothing else to prove in the closer role. Kimbrel makes the same as a 4th starter. Would think the big man would step up and take a chance to make another $100+ million. Boy would this kind of move be exciting for Redleg Nation. I could understand why he wasn’t starting when they had 5 good starters, but your other option right now apparently is Marquis. He has developed 3 + pitches, and would be another Randy Johnson. There is no way I believe he lacks the will to dominate as a starter. Just look at the guy when he lets someone on base or gives up a long ball. Looks like he is going to put the next fastball in someones ear.

  2. Matt WI

    Geez, Steve. Going right for the Redlegnation soft-spot. Well played. And, by the way, my answer is “yes.”

  3. jim t

    Steve how many innings would you hope to get out of him? How would you stretch him out? Who would fill his role? If your asking me if I would like to see him start the answer is yes but that boat has sailed in my opinion.

    • jdx19

      Five innings every 5 days would make him much more valuable than being a closer, I think

      Anyone could fill his role. Being a “closer” is a myth. He’s just a good pitcher that is going to be good no matter where you pitch him.

      An article on The Harball Times the other day presented an exciting new pitching stat called cFIP (Contextual Fielding Independent Pitching) that has been shown to both estimate past performance AND predict future performance better than any currently used pitching stat. That means it is an amalgam for “pitcher skill” or overall quality. Chapman is first by a wide margin. Best starters are Kershaw and Chris Sale, I believe.

      • MrRed

        Interesting stat, JDX. I admittedly am not familiar with it, but what is the value in it to “estimate past performance”? Why would you need to since we know what already happened?

      • MrRed

        Very interesting paper. Thanks for the link! cFIP would seem to be taking a notable step forward in marrying descriptive and predictive analysis of pitchers. It was notable how close to average it considers Johnny Cueto. But wow! Aroldis Chapman is in a class by himself according to this measurement. Even if he were to regress by facing more hitters, he’d have a long way to go before he wasn’t considered a very good pitcher. Some food for thought…

      • Matt WI

        Yes. 175 IP > 60 IP. And I have little doubt that something like 150 IP of Chapman would be > than 150 IP by Marquis.

      • redsfan06

        That’s a long article and I am still reading it. Along with rating Chapman as the best, it rates Maholm in the “awful” category with the 2nd worst rating among all pitchers.

        That must be Jocketty’s version of a balanced roster.

  4. Victor Vollhardt

    Zak is right—also from a “selling” standpoint–if he was a starter (and a innings “horse” and that’s a real stretch) a paying fan would see him at 13 to 16 times at home but as a reliever —he might in any game that you bought a ticket for. The dramatic effect of coming in “to save game”. put a lot of people in the seats.

    • MrRed

      Eh. Are people really paying to “maybe” see him come in and close? My guess is that those particular folks would still come and do what they normally do, stay partially engaged in the game and text on the phone, drink beer, etc.

      What really drives up attendance is winning. Chapman has a much better chance boosting attendance by going out starting and earning wins instead of saves.

    • Lars Benders

      You nailed it Victor. I’ve heard all kinds of explanations for why Chapman was moved (and kept) at closer. Jocketty wanted it…..Dusty wanted it. There is NO DOUBT in my mind that it was Castellini. Putting people in the seats and the rush that goes thru the stadium when he comes in the game in the ninth-Castellini wasn’t about to give that up.

      • jdx19

        You really think people buy tickets and come to the stadium for a 30-35% chance of seeing Aroldis Chapman? I can’t think of any rational argument that would prove this to me.

      • Vicferrari

        totally agree, but how many might go attend a game if Chapman starts when they normally would not?

      • ohiojimw

        You are not a casual fan :). These folks (who come just to see Chapan close) are casual fans (at the most). The reason(s) for them wanting to see Chapman in the 9th are likely things that you would never even consider in deciding whether to come to a game, probably very rational to them but not to you (or me).

        For the ownership, it is about putting fannies in the seats without losing those who would be there anyway and selling the Chapman jerseys etc. $$$ is the reason

      • The Next Janish

        Me no, but I might use it as a selling point to get the wife and kids in the car to go to a game.

      • greenmtred

        It was reported that CHAPMAN wanted to close rather than to start. What he could or couldn’t do as a starter is purely speculative. His brief history in the minors as a starter wasn’t impressive, as I recall.

    • Kyle Farmer

      Does it mean anything that Smoltz himself has repeatedly said that moving Chapman to the rotation would be a mistake? (Asking for a SABR guy I know.)

      • jdx19

        Jeremy said it best. Smoltz’s opinion is irrelevant.

        Smoltz was used as an example to show that someone who is one thing (a starter or closer) can be the other given that they are sufficiently skilled, which both Smoltz and Chapman were/are.

      • ohiojimw

        Given Smoltz’s personal history, I don’t think his opinion is without value. He’s walked the walk. He was also around long enough that he knows about pitching in general. He probably has some reasons based on mechanics, or stuff, or his assessment of Chapman’s mental make up or all of these that lead him to the conclusion Chapman should not be used at a starter at this point in his career. Smoltz could be wrong but his opinion is almost certainly based on data and evaluation beyond what any of us here can offer.

      • Kyle Farmer

        This is where I shake my head at the whole SABR-only crowd. To me, that idea that a Hall of Fame pitcher who now is a respected analyst of the game and has both started and closed has an irrelevant opinion on the topic is way out there. I’ve got a feeling John Smoltz forgot more about pitching yesterday morning than most posters on this blog (especially me) will ever no.

        He might be wrong, but he’s not irrelevant to the discussion.

      • Kyle Farmer

        know – Can’t spell or do simple grammar before second cup of coffee apparently.

      • jdx19

        Being irrelevant and without value are two different things. Sure, Smoltz’ opinion on Chapman has some value because he’s got a large amount of personal experience to draw on. I think it is irrelevant because if you found just one dissenting opinion, say maybe like Ron Darling or Dan Plesac from MLB Network, it shoots Smoltz’ opinion out the window. If similarly experience pitching analysts can have differing opinions, then their opinions are irrelevant, but not without value.

        Speculating he knows Chapman’s mental makeup is hogwash, though. He’s not a medical professional and he doens’t know Chapman personally. All he knows is what he sees on TV, like you and I.

      • Jeremy Conley

        Kyle – This is where I shake my head at the people who make everything a numbers vs. baseball experience debate. That Smoltz’s opinion about Chapman is irrelevant has nothing to do with SABR. In fact, nothing about Chapman has anything to do with SABR, or new-fangled statistics.

        Smoltz isn’t relevant to the discussion on Chapman because he isn’t a scout and hasn’t spent any time with Chapman. He is a guy who has pitched in both the bullpen and rotation, but who cares? Lots of guys do that. And why would that matter anyway? Does his opinion have any more weight than a doctor’s? A pitching coach’s? A Hall of fame infielder who’s faced both closer’s and starters?

        No. They are all just basing their opinions on their own experiences, and have no specific knowledge of the situation. We know that all players are different, so Smoltz, without actually spending any time with Chapman, has no real idea of what Chapman is capable of.

        Here is the interview in question:

        Note that he does not say one specific thing about Chapman. He just says things like “You move him out of that closer’s role, you run a risk.” He also totally gets the facts wrong because he makes it out to seem like Chapman has never started before, which we all know he has, for years in fact.

        And please, again, note that this has nothing to do with anyone’s perspective on any stats. This is pure scouting, and generally people talking about players that they have zero specific knowledge of. Smoltz opinion is that he’s good where he is so why run the risk. That has nothing to do with his history as a player, it’s just a risk-averse opinion.

  5. jdx19

    I gotta say, Steve, I like imflammatory questions. I enjoy arguing. 🙂

  6. garym6059

    I’ll take the surefire role at the end instead of hoping he can get through six innings and 100 pitches

    • jdx19

      Even if he pitched 4 innings every 5 days, he’d be more valuable to the team than pitching 1 inning every 3 days.

      And there’s really no reason to think he couldn’t pitch 5-6 once he got stretched out. He’s started in Cuba and in ST in the past. The guy is a great athlete. I think he’d rise to the occassion.

  7. Nick Carrington

    Oh dear. I’m almost excited to get rid of Chapman after this year, so we don’t have to think about how wasted he is in the most overrated role in all of sports. They should have traded him by this point. He likely has more trade value than he has value pitching the 9th.

    • jdx19

      Amen to this. I love the guy, but he’s got more than 2.0-2.5 WAR in surplus trade value, easy.

  8. WVRedlegs

    Clean up on aisle #5. Somebody’s beating that dead horse again.

    Seriously though, it is the idea that makes the best sense. It would make the rotation much more stronger and the team stronger. Just move Iglesias and Jumbo to be co-closers. When Bailey comes back, then Marquis will go…wherever. Cueto>Leake>Chapman>Bailey>DeSclafani would be a nice rotation to bank on.

    • WVRedlegs

      And maybe Cingrani in that closer’s mix.

      • Vicferrari

        My fantasy…Cingrani is just as successful as Chapman in the pen, the Reds realize this, start transitioning roles in June, giving Chapman 3 inning relief appearances and Cingrani closes on days Chapman needs rest. Chapman starts by ASB, Reds make the playoffs being to start a fresh Chapman and injury free Cueto 4 times in a 7 game series

    • Kyle Farmer

      If we’re worried that Lorenzen won’t have enough build up to start next year, would Chapman even make it to the ASG break this year?

      • jdx19

        Older arms are different than younger arms. Also, Chapman, from all team accounts, is a world-class athlete (best on team, according to Brantley), so as long as they didn’t run him out there 100-120 pitches in April and May, and maybe limit him to 65-75, I think he could work all season. Now, this all assumes they started stretching him out right now, but I’m really just guesssing. Certainly not a professional.

  9. Mike W.

    How many times can we have this discussion? You can’t make him a starter if he doesn’t want to be a starter. He has made that abundantly clear by saying he would rather close games. I wish they would trade him and make Cingrani the closer. Best move for the team at this point.

    • jessecuster44

      Yes you can make him!

      Manager: Aroldis, you’re under contract to us. Stretch out that arm – you’re starting.

      Chappy: Yes sir.

      How is this not possible? When you let players dictate their own roles, bad things happen.

      • greenmtred

        When you treat humans like ciphers, bad things happen.

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah… I mean, you can indeed tell him that he’s starting but he doesn’t have to be good at it. I’d like to think that he would try his best but what if he didn’t. MLB money is guaranteed and he already has earned enough to set himself up for life. It may not matter if he’s good or bad except for his own will to be good. There are no other consequences really to being bad. What do you do if he’s bad? Cut him? Trade him? Then he maybe ends up in the role he wants with another team, maybe earns a new contract in that role that is still several million dollars, even if not starter money.

    • Jeremy Conley

      This is the silliest point. Some reporter asked him that one time, when the manager Dusty was pushing for him to be the closer. He said he would rather close. So what? Do we have any idea how much he cared, whether he would refuse to start, or whether he was just trying to get his manager’s approval? No.

      Players say stuff to the media sometimes. It doesn’t matter.

      • ohiojimw

        At the point when this happened (2013) it was probably about money on Chapman’s end.

        If he switched to starter that spring (2013) he was likely to do a short stint at AAA to get him tweaked into the routine. Losing that MLB service time (even a couple of weeks) would have cost him arb eligibility at 2013 season’s end and thus the chance to exercise the option in his contract at the end of that season which turned the next season’s previously contracted salary (~$3M) into a cash bonus and let him go into arbitration process from that point forward.

        What get’s missed in the money discussion is that Chapman had that $30M “pad” ($30M, six year deal) up front and also the out in his contract to give him access to arbitration despite having signed a 6 year deal. Taking the path he has taken has gotten him to $33M earned by the end of this season,

        Comparing $33M to what Leake or even Cueto will have earned for their careers by the end of this season as they enter FA status and with Chapman still having a year after this year before he reaches FA status, it doesn’t add up that to date he would have made more money as a starter.

        Just to stir the kettle a bit. Chapman will approach FA as relatively young guy with not a lot of innings on his arm (that we know about; who knows what went on in Cuba). This would be the time for him to be thinking about trying to morph into a starter if he wanted to get a piece of that money down the road.

        Could these two inning stints this spring be a precursor buried in subterfuge?

      • Grand Salami

        Excellent pot stirring, indeed!

        Chapman will be making elite closer money and the relatively short number of innings probably tacks a few years to the end of his career. Maybe he is thinking more years as a closer is better for the bottom line than higher salary and few seasons converted to starter.

    • jdx19

      Well, it is March and this is a baseball blog. What else is there to talk about? Gotta talk about something!

  10. spro

    If they can stretch Iglesias out just in 1 spring training, they could stretch Chapman out. Yes, they’re probably not planning to give Iglesias a full starters workload over the season, so it’s not fair to expect the same out of Chapman. But even 120 innings out of Chapman with a replacement-level pitcher would be better than 200 innings of replacement-level pitching from Marquis.

  11. WVRedlegs

    It is a mystery as to why Chapman and his agent are jumping up and down and screaming at the Reds to make this move. It would more than likely mean an extra $75-$100M for Chapman after the 2016 season.

    • WVRedlegs

      Sorry,
      *are NOT jumping up and down*

    • jdx19

      Good point. Starters make a ton more money.

  12. zaglamir

    Aroldis Chapman save percentage with Reds: 89%
    Francisco Cordero save percentage with Reds 86%.
    Average closer save percentage (2014): 84%

    Also known as 1 extra blown save per year if we stuck Joe Blow Closer (JBC) in as closer. If Chapman’s innings increase from 50 to 100, he would more than cover the blown save spread.

    Make him a starter.

    • VaRedsFan

      91.9% over the last 3 years. Even higher than that, if it weren’t for the donuts glutton. Even better than that, since he’s matured as a pitcher.

      • zaglamir

        If we assume 40 save chances per year:
        91.9% = 37 saves.
        86.7% (the average SV% for past three years) = 35 saves.

        Again, having him start for even 100 innings would obliterate that value. The closer is simply not an important enough position to dictate that a once in a decade talent be there. In the last three years, the best in the world has been 5% better than the average. Why wouldn’t you give the best in the world more chances to contribute when an average guy could do the same job with only 5% more failures. On top of that, nearly 1/3 of blown saves result in a team win anyway*. So a 5% increased failure rate with a 1/3 chance of recouperating after the failure. The argument for making one of your best pitchers your closer just has no legs to stand on, statistically.

        *Source:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/proposed-rule-change-blown-save-wins-revert-to-the-starting-pitcher/

  13. ColoREDo

    The answer is obvious. Its far too late. It should have been done a couple of years ago. Now we only have him this season and the next, I wouldn’t want to risk blowing out his elbow/shoulder this late in the contract.

  14. The Next Janish

    Just to bend the conversation a bit..but… What if Aroldis just follows the path he is on do you think he would be the next HOFer from the Reds? As a closer we could probably keep him for his entire career but we’d probably overpay in the WAR cost average.

    • Kyle Farmer

      I really don’t think they sign him. Am I wrong?

    • Frogger

      Yes, Chapman will be in the HOF unless he blows the arm out in the next year or so. Sure thing. Same thing for Votto if he keeps healthy.

  15. Jeremy Conley

    Spring training is the time to ask these questions, and man, the Chapman issue always chaps me this time of year. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when the Reds run him out there for 2 innings at a time in spring, and then only use him in the 9th with a lead during the season.

    Now that Chapman has developed his slider and changeup, he would probably be one of the best starters in the league if he could pitch the innings. The only way for him to do that, is for the Reds to let him do that. Not to go all Yogi on everyone.

    What I mean is that saying “that ship has sailed” is letting the past be the enemy of the future. Was it a mistake to make him the closer in 2011? Yes. In 2012, 2013, and 2014? Yes. But that doesn’t mean the Reds have to make the same mistake this year. It’s a mistake to make him the closer every day that they do it.

    Can he pitch 200 innings this year? No. But any more innings is better. Start stretching him out now, stop the madness!

    • redslam

      Spot on. I sadly doubt we will ever see this with him in a Reds uniform and the whole thing is regrettable. Should have tried it out. Should try it out this year.

      I hope all the stars align for the Reds this year because that is what is necessary or we will be closer to bottom of Central than the top.

  16. Cameron Papp (@CameronPapp)

    I don’t get it. Didn’t Chapman say he didn’t want to be a starter? Why does this keep coming up? I wanted him to throw more innings too but it’s tough to see a pitcher really putting in the work needed to do something that he dislikes. It takes a lot of work to be a starter. It sucks, but he didn’t want to try it. Let’s move on.

    • jdx19

      This is March. This is a baseball blog. We have to discuss something. That is why is keeps coming up.

    • Steve Mancuso

      For all we know, if a single person (Peña, Cueto, Price, Jocketty, LeCure …) went up to Chapman and said “the team really needs to you start” then Chapman might all of a sudden change his tune. Since when do teams let players dictate their own roles? Since when did players quit feeling “I’ll do whatever the team wants.”

      • Cameron Papp (@CameronPapp)

        A long time ago – sometime after they stopped being indentured servants. God those were the days. I get it – I wish he were a starter too. But if he is clearly a guy that doesn’t want to put in the work then I don’t know what to tell you. I guess we can keep saying that he should try it as a monthly ritual. Guess no one’s getting hurt. JDX19 is right. It’s March so why not. Looking forward to picking this conversation back up in May. Cheers.

      • CP

        Yeah, just like Tony Cingrani “decided” he wanted to be in the bullpen.

        The Chapman thing is a moot point by now, but c’mon, let’s not pretend the players get to make the ultimate decision themselves.

      • VaRedsFan

        CP: the talented ones do. Remember Votto not wanting to try to play the outfield?

      • jdx19

        Wow. You went indentured servants on us. At least you didn’t drop the “s” word.

      • wkuchad

        Yep. Also, if that person told Chapman he’d be able to take a 3 hour nap every 4 out of 5 games, he may jump at the chance.

      • lwblogger2

        He’d barely have to show up on days he didn’t pitch 😉

  17. Steve Mancuso

    Marquis today: 5 IP, 5 hits (3 doubles), 3 BB, 1 balk, 1 strikeout. Vs. mixed White Sox lineup. All damage second time through order.

      • Michael

        What, and waste all that lack of talent on just a few innings a week? Non-sense. You get your worst pitchers the most innings. It is in the Cincinnati Reds operations manual and part of orientation.

    • vegastypo

      Before the game, or perhaps just an inning or two into the game, Marty called him an inspiration to younger players for coming back from a major injury at his age. And that was after he pointed out that Marquis has been with 9 teams. Inspiring!

  18. Earl Nash

    I’m curious to see how Chapman would do as a starter, but it seems that ship has sailed.

    I know for me, I’d definitely be using him for more innings whatever happens. If it was me and the Reds are in a 1 run game against a division rival or a team with a tough heart of the lineup coming up in the 8th, I’d use Chapman with expectation of a 6 out save. I’d think getting 100 innings out of Chapman in the bullpen should perhaps be the goal. If the Missile is 90% as effective, you could pick up some key 1 run victories over a season.

    • lwblogger2

      Yep, up one or two against a division opponent and going into the 8th? You bet he’d be out there. I’d also use him in a tie on the road for 2 innings if need be. The guy needs to be used more since he isn’t starting.

  19. Redgoggles

    Perhaps this is all part of the master plan. Move Cingrini to the BP to take over the closer’s role so Chappy can be our starter (without innings cap) in the 2nd half. And, perhaps the winning lottery ticket will blow into my office.

  20. droomac

    The greatest of all of the missteps of the past several years was the decision not to proceed with plans for Chapman to start. He could have been a failure or with a plaque in Cooperstown. Who knows?…..However, not (at least) trying his singular talent in the role of starter is unconscionable to me.

  21. Creigh Deeds

    Of course Chapman should start, but the braintrust has already decided he will not, so his value is as a commodity to be packaged and traded for something that will get the Reds closer to the prize, the Series championship. The Reds need a leadoff hitter. They need outfield depth.

  22. Tom Reed

    Chapman would be in the starting rotation if that’s what the front office had wanted. Obviously, they wanted him in the closer role, and it’s not been a complete disaster. With Cingrani being prepped to become the closer, the trade of Chapman next year could bring a number of prospects to strengthen the farm system.

  23. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Obvious answer, most likely Chapman. But, then, how much worse would the pen be? They were pretty pathetic last season. Moving a pitcher like Chapman out of there wouldn’t be making it better.

    Not to mention, would Chapman be able to stand the innings? Marquis has pitched a lot of innings before; he just hasn’t pitched them in a long time. Chapman has never pitched a lot of innings. I would have to say, even if we stretched him out properly this spring, we would probably see not much more than half a season of Chapman. Why was Simon able to make it? If I recall correctly, he’s pitched year round for years, as well as he’s been the long man in the pen. The Reds were banking on him being able to make an entire season. With Chapman, I would have to say more likely he wouldn’t make an entire season.

    Given both these scenarios, something comes to mind I believe I was thinking a year or two ago. Split the time with Chapman and someone else like Cingrani. For instance, they alternate starts/closer position. That way, the closer can still be somewhat fresh for their start, and the starter can get even more rest and last longer into the season.

    Now, before anyone says something like, “Cingrani? No way. Stupid idea”, I never specified Cingrani. I specified “someone like Cingrani”. It could be anyone else. I used Cingrani only as an example. And, it would be a way of keeping Chapman is some kind of closer role and still be able to use him as a starter during the season.

  24. redmountain

    I think in years past who would you have moved out of the rotation? That is not the case this year. There is a place for him to start and he does not have pitch the whole season as a starter. There are several kids who are going to be ready this year. If you could get 15 starts from him you could then switch to Lorenzen, Moscot, or Stephenson.

  25. Earl Nash

    I got to think Aroldis Chapman would be a pretty marketable player for the Yankees. Chapman has style and I think that would be good TV with the whole “Good Bad and the Ugly” while rolling out of the bullpen. I’ve kind of been thinking that is where he will eventually end up for a couple of seasons. That is a team that can afford an expensive closer.

    • Tom Reed

      I agree that Chapman would look good on Broadway, but do the Yankees have what the Reds need?

  26. [email protected]

    Would Chapman move to the rotation?

    Depends on how much you want to win

    “Hey Pete, we need you to play 3rd base”

    Nope, I can’t because I am an all star left fielder…..

  27. JRS1972

    It no longer matters, but he was a huge waste of a resource in the bullpen. Once they decided not to start him the smart play would have been to flip him for prospects the team needed, and there would have been takers.

  28. WVRedlegs

    Chapman starting? Now, there is some Gorilla dust.

  29. VaRedsFan

    Before we chastise Chapman about his preference to close, let’s remember that Votto also refused to play the outfield when asked if he would consider it…back when Yonder Alonso was mashing baseballs for the reds.

    • CP

      Chapman said that he would prefer to close, not that he wouldn’t start. As far as we know, he was never asked to close. Nor Votto for that matter. No one should blame players for their preference.

      The organization is the one to blame for failing to allocate their resources properly.

    • jdx19

      Comparing position players and pitchers is completely worthless.

      You’d have to have something like “Votto, will you sit out 1/2 of the innings to let Yonder Alonso play and hit for you?” Of course he’d say no. Any sane person would.

      And from a statistical perspective, 1B and LF are the two least valuable defensive positions. It really would not matter at all if we had Votto and Alonso and either one played 1B or LF.

  30. lwblogger2

    The answer to Steve’s inflammatory question is that it is extremely likely that Chapman would be the better starter. This would be true even if he broke down at 120 IP or so. That’s how awful I think Marquis will be. Truth is though, this question is purely speculative because the Reds aren’t going to do it.

  31. unc reds fan

    Chapman should be a starter…we can thank Dusty and Walt for the overpaid underused closer we have now…but considering where he is I would be happy if they just used him for more than an inning…let him pitch the 7,8,9 innings…get value out of him before he is gone next season when some other team is paying him an exorbitant amount to pitch just the ninth a lot of times in situations that don’t really matter to the outcome of the game…Should he be a starter, absolutely…can he now? I don’t know but here’s guessing we will never ever find out

    • jdx19

      I definitely get your sentiment, but if Chapman matches last year’s performance with 2.7 fWAR, the $8M paid for him will be a very, very good deal.

  32. Marvin

    It would be so nice for Aroldis to be the starter, but it is just not going to happen here. And to those shrugging off the comments about Aroldis not wanting to be a starter, I think you are willfully looking the other way.

    He was always a little bit off-the way he left Cuba, the crazy speeding ticket, the prostitutes. Then a couple years ago he said he would rather close. After that was the long article talking about the surreal vibe in his house, how late he rolled out of bed, smoking Marlboro Reds, just hanging out, and his workout consisting more of batting practice than pitching. Then was the Latos accusations which, although not corroborated, seem to fall in line with something to be expected out of Chapman. The only time he has seemed remotely engaged was the Reds hooded sweatshirt video. Or maybe whenever he does poorly.

    So as much as the talent would be much better in a starting role, I don’t think it will or should happen. I love how weird the guy is. His insanity is a breath of fresh air from the mainstream mentality most athletes have. But this same insanity would absolutely not allow for him to be a starter. We all know it. Even those denying it know it. Dude is cool rolling out of bed, showing up, hanging out until he comes and throws 100 for about 15 minutes, and then going home. He makes millions, and gets away from the Castros in the process. I don’t blame him.

    • Jeremy Conley

      None of this makes sense. See Wells, David. Lee, Bill (Spaceman). There are so many examples of starters with wild “quirks,” and way more serious drug use than cigarettes.

      • lwblogger2

        Lefties are the besties. All the LHP I know/knew are a little off.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Here’s a little bit about David Wells’ perfect game:

      So when former New York Yankee David Wells wrote in his autobiography that he was half-drunk with monster breath, people were a bit surprised. But not too surprised. Wells already had the goofy-ass nickname “Boomer”, was fined for buying Babe Ruth’s hat at auction and wearing it on the field, and had the rotund body that one could only get away with in baseball.

      As summarized by Sports Illustrated, Wells recounts how he was out way late at an SNL cast party, with barely an hour of sleep before his son woke him up at 6am. Wells did about the only thing that he could, which is to take some aspirin and caffeinate. He says he had an awful warmup before going out onto the field.

      • unc reds fan

        Jeremy I totally agree…we shouldn’t be tailoring to what a player wants to do…baseball is a team sport…this let him do what he wants because why should he change philosophy worries me more than whether he should start or not…why should we be spending 8mil a year on a guy who just wants to pitch one inning and doesn’t want to do anything else…those are the kind of cancers you don’t want in the locker room…we need to quit coddling these overpaid babies and trying to make sure they are happy…this kind of attitude would get quashed in football…look at Ryan Leaf, considered to be more talented than Peyton manning but had no work ethic…of course this was kind of my thought 3 years ago when this was originally discussed and Dusty nixed everything…I know he is a transcendent talent but I would rather have the 8 mil than a top of the line closer who is still not considered by most to be the best in the majors currently

  33. Steve Schoenbaechler

    What do you do, Steve? Do you put Chapman in the rotation or not?

    • Steve Mancuso

      As I’ve written since 2011, I’d get Chapman stretched out for the rotation immediately. Yesterday. He’d start Saturday, April 11 against the St. Louis Cardinals and then Friday, April 17 in St. Louis.

      Look at it this way. If he only pitched five innings in each of those games as a starter, that would be nearly twice the number of innings he’ll likely pitch against them all year from the bullpen. From 2011-2014, Chapman averaged 6 innings/year vs. the Cardinals. Last year, on September 10, Chapman had pitched one inning against the Cardinals all season.

  34. Dale Pearl

    Investing in Chapman as a starter at this point would be a complete waste of money. He will not be a Red once his contract expires. See Latos, Arroyo, Cueto, and probably Leake. Chapman will exit stage right regardless of what the Reds do and or offer him.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It isn’t “investing” it’s using. Chapman’s money the next two years is a sunk cost. It’s just a matter of how the Reds use their resource. Chapman should be a starter this year and next. If he leaves at the end of 2016, so be it. The Reds would have at least gotten 300 innings out of him instead of 120.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Truer words have never been spoken. Max out his value and trade him. We won’t be able to afford him either way.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Actually, what you suggest is investing. Not so much in Chapman but absolutely investing in the Reds future.

        I’m curious to know if the people that think the Reds have a chance to compete in 2015 and/or resign Cueto/Leake/Chapman; changed their minds, if only for a moment. How would these people suggest handling the roster, trades, lineups, rotation, bench and bullpen?

      • lwblogger2

        Considering their off-season, I’m already pretty convinced now that they won’t compete. They have a chance but pretty much everything has to break right. I’d be ready to make some serious moves at the deadline. I’m still not convinced that the Reds can’t or shouldn’t resign Leake. I think he can be had for fairly reasonable money and he’s a low injury risk. What I wouldn’t want to do is go more than 4 years with him. If it lowered the AAV enough, I’d MAYBE explore a 5th year. That said, if the chances of a wildcard birth or division title are looking slim come July and Leake isn’t signed by then, I’d look to move him. Cueto probably shouldn’t be resigned because I think we’re looking at Lester money or even better and I just think that’s out of the Reds price range.

    • Matt WI

      I don’t know. Arroyo was a Red for 8 years, which were after his player control years. Not resigning him to a qualifying offer was a pretty reasonable move for both parties given where he was. And they threw down on Bailey, got more out of Cueto for less than they could have. Having all of those guys line up the way they did was pretty impressive, and was never going to be sustainable over the long haul.

      In the meantime, someone like Chapman is their’s to benefit the team in whatever way they see fit, regardless of him leaving or not.

  35. Grand Salami

    4-6 innings of Chapman every fifth game will produce a better WAR then 5-7 innings of Marquis (or Holmberg, Axlerod, Maholm, etc).

    Spot start him two or three times through until Homer is back then back to the bullpen – that is how the Reds get their money’s worth. It’s wacky but it’s a move I’d see LaRussa making and it paying dividends.

  36. Michael

    If Chapman were in the rotation, we’d have just another really good left-handed ace on our hands…who needs that? Kershaw has been nothing but trouble for the Dodgers. Lester is worthless and his minimum contract proves it. Cliff Lee? He got injured, so no doubt Chapman would blow his arm out on his first warm-up pitch of the first inning of the first game.

    Chapman and that great arm are best kept moth-balled in a closer role. The Reds know what they’re doing. They paid $30 million for that arm…no sense in getting it injured by asking more than three innings a week. Are you allowed to touch the stuff in museums? Of course not. Neither should be expect a good arm actually be used to win games….that is just a silly notion from lesser minds. Good thing we have really mostly kinda smart-like folks in the Reds front office and clubhouse. They be doin some real sort-of good maybe one day, eh?