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The Reds may move Chapman faster than we thought

Jan 11, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

The general consensus among the Twitterati yesterday and this morning was that the Reds may have Chapman in the 2011 rotation, but seeing how raw he is, it’s not a given. Reds GM Walt Jocketty scoffs at your conservatism:

As far as when he’ll be on the mound at Great American
Ball Park, Jocketty said he wants to get Chapman to start working with
catcher Ramon Hernandez and hopes things move quickly.

Jocketty said that hopefully Chapman is a Top 5 starters. If not,
he’ll start in the minors and hopefully be in the rotation in the near
future.

So the hope is that he breaks camp in the rotation, but they’ll settle for later in 2010.  Based on what we’ve heard about Chapman that seems optimistic. I mean, the dude had better figure out how to throw a changeup pretty quickly, because major league hitters can handle 100 m.p.h. gas if they know it’s coming.

But just as gambling on expensive young talent with an upside represents a competitive advantage for sub-.500 teams with low payrolls, maybe rushing that talent and squeezing as much juice out of them before they sign with the Yankees is a competitive advantage as well.

For those who want it, video of the Aroldis Chapman press conference from Cincy today can be seen here.

  1. Phil - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Yikes. Now the FO will wash all the goodwill away by blowing out his arm or destroying his confidence. Didn’t they learn anything from the Homer Bailey fiasco? Well, this is a front office that has provided a home for Jocketty, Bill Bavasi and Cam Bonifay. What can you expect? Where’s Earl Weaver when you need him?
    On the possibly plus side, the Reds have Mario Soto line up to teach Chapman the change-up and Brian Price is the new pitching coach. Of course, Cap’n Toothpick is still there to muck things up. I hope someone can convince the collective brain trust, and I use the term loosely, that there’s some real potential for 2011 and beyond if they just won’t get greedy about 2010. He should start at AA Carolina and be a September call-up at most.
    The life of a Reds’ fan – one step forward, two steps back.

  2. Moses Green - Jan 11, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    They may pay him $1 million dollars for one year and decide to move him all the way to another team.

  3. Phil - Jan 11, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Nobody – well, no one not named the Yankees or Red Sox – is going to take that back-loaded contract after one year, particularly if that year is largely spent in AA or AAA even if he’s lights out. I doubt if even the Yankees and Sox would want him at that point.
    The Reds have signed on to foot the bill for his development. If he comes up in 2011 and puts together 3-4 stellar – or even above average – seasons, then the remainder of the contract becomes irrelevant and he could be moved for a handsome return. He would be only 26 or 27 and a valuable commodity to big market teams who could afford both the current contract and his next one. Of course, if he washes out…

  4. Lawrence From Plattekill - Jan 11, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Is there any video of Chapman pitching?

  5. JBerardi - Jan 11, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Chapman walked 4.7 per 9 during his ’09 season in Cuba. So, logically, he should be sent directly to the majors. With Dusty Baker for his manager. That’s a recipe for success if I’ve ever heard one.

  6. ecp - Jan 11, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Walt Jocketty is out of his mind. This is a guy that some scouts have compared to Colt Griffin – which ought to scare the bejeesus out of everybody – and he actually thinks he can pitch in the majors this year? Oh well, Dusty Baker will set him straight…oh wait, it’s Dusty Baker. Nevermind.

  7. Phil - Jan 11, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    The more I think about it, the more I think this is for the mouthbreathers on sports talk radio. Since taking over as majority owner, Castellini’s annual mantra is that he’s here to win now. That’s led to some unfortunate moves to paper over the angst of the fan base (Baker, Cordero, Rolen). And each time, Castellini and the FO said it was about winning now.
    I think this is more of the same. “See, we went out and spent the money, beat back the Red Sox and some other big market clubs and it’s because we’re committed to winning RIGHT NOW!” I hope that this is followed by statements in Spring Training about how good Arodlis looks but he’s a valuable cog in the Reds’ future and we think looking at the potential for our 2011 rotation that we shouldn’t rush him. He needs some time in the minors under the fine tutelage of Mario Soto and our minor league coaching staff to realize his potential. Or some such BS.
    Of course, they may see the kid and his 100 MPH fastball as a way to put fannies immediately in the seats and exploit the Hell out of that until he blows up. They’re certainly proven they are both craven and stupid enough to go that way.

  8. GimmeSomeSteel - Jan 11, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    Phil–You and JBerardi are right on about how the Reds (mis)manage “pitching talent”. I can see any number of ways they can f*** up this great talent, most of them relating to Dusty as his possible manager.
    For Chapman’s sake, I hope they leave him in the minors until September, then use him in relief or spot starts. Baker’s contract is up after this year, so perhaps they’ll replace him with someone who has a clue about pitcher usage.

  9. JBerardi - Jan 12, 2010 at 4:57 AM

    It seems like the Reds are perpetually caught in limbo between trying to rebuild and trying to win now. Ultimately they do neither. That’s how you wind up with a sub-.500 team that pays $12m for it’s closer. I guess that’s also how you spend $30m on a 21 year old kid who is very much a project and then decide he’s here to help your rotation right away.

  10. Phil - Jan 12, 2010 at 8:08 AM

    JB,
    It’s the Curse of the Big Red Machine. That and the fact that no matter who is in charge, the Reds’ front office has never really come to grips with life in the era of free agency. Since Don Gullet signed with the Yankees I’ve yet to see a consistent plan to make the Reds competitive each season implemented.
    Marge spent big on the big club but wrecked the scouting system and ignored the farm system. Ol’ Leatherpants thought the road to paradise was paved with toolsy outfielders and scrap heap arms that could be reclaimed. Dan-O actually uttered the dreaded “R” word (rebuilding) and focused on the draft and player development, which has given us Joey Votto for starters. But he caved to the “win now” pressure and when given a little cash to work with from the Banana Man, handed out the infamous Milton contract and was untimately fired for it. Krivsky was in over his head and was dead man walking after Castellini took over. And Castellini looks like his goal is to become the Baby Boss of the Midwest so he lurches from one big-spending splash to another.
    So, yes, the Reds are always caught between trying to reclaim the Glory Days (which can’t be done) and trying to remember that this is now and in the here and now teams in Cincinnati’s situation have to rely on their farm system, the draft and international FAs like Chapman to be competitive. Maybe this is a sign that they finally get that, though with Big Bob at the helm I’m not optimistic. And even if they do, it appears that they still need to learn that a big part of player development is patience.

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