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The Reds are making Aroldis Chapman their closer

May 20, 2012, 11:09 AM EDT

chapman getty Getty Images

Sean Marshall has surrendered 22 hits and eight earned runs in 14 1/3 innings this year, struggling to solidify the Reds’ ninth-inning role. So changes are being considered at the end of the Cincinnati ‘pen.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds manager Dusty Baker spoke Saturday “about switching Aroldis Chapman into the closer’s role,” and pushing Marshall back into setup duty — something he’s far more familiar with.

“[Chapman] has been so good in the eighth,” Baker told reporters after Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Yankees. “Like I said, you’ve got to graduate to that position. Who knows maybe graduation time is here? We’re got to discuss it, talk about it. Matter of fact, we already talked to him about it. … We had to revamp and come up with a Plan B. So we’ll see about Plan C.”

If Chapman starts locking down saves — which he’s completely capable of — and becomes the Reds’ regular closer, you’d have to think Baker and Co. might just run with with the strategy. Which would, unfortunately, push the 24-year-old Cuban left-hander further away from the rotation spot where he belongs.

Chapman hasn’t allowed an earned run in 17 relief appearances this season and boasts a 38/7 K/BB ratio in 21 1/3 innings. He’s one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball and has experience with starting, and yet the Reds won’t maximize his value. It’s simple math. Justin Verlander has already pitched over 67 innings.


UPDATE, 11:38 AM: It’s official, according to Fay: Chapman is the Reds’ new closer.

  1. youjivinmeturkey - May 20, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    It’s About Time!!!

    • biasedhomer - May 20, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      came here to say those same exact words

  2. whodeytn - May 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    It’s about time to move him into the rotation! Dusty and co. are absolutely clueless!

  3. djdvd - May 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    So a guy who should be a starter is going to get even less innings because he probably won’t come in for multiple innings now being the “closer”. Meanwhile, Marshall is getting crazy unlucky with something like a .480 BABIP and that’s going to be the basis of him being “bad”.

  4. frankenderek - May 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Well if CJ Wilson can do it, Chapman could start next year. It’s not like he’s 28 or something.

    • paperlions - May 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      It isn’t whether or not he *could* do it…it is the fact that if he is successful in that role, it is less likely he’ll be considered for the rotation next year…and the longer he’s in relief, the less likely teams are (especially one run by the current Cincinnati regime) to even consider him for the rotation.

  5. hiltonandastoria - May 20, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Still a waste of talent
    7th and 8th innings are more important than a 9th inning only guy

  6. stex52 - May 20, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Getting the most out of their players doesn’t seem to be a strength of Reds management. They certainly have the talent to win more than they do.

  7. John Vincent - May 20, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Reblogged this on Johnny's Baseball Blog and commented:
    I still think this is a great idea…

  8. zurnvs - May 20, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Just look at the history of Dusty, SF and Cubs, he has never done well with the management his pitchers. One extreme to the other.

  9. buffalomafia - May 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Go Reds!

  10. sigep316 - May 20, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Hey potter, looks like dusty might be getting a small clue. Remember this is what the cardinals did with Wainwright.

    • paperlions - May 20, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      No, this is most certainly NOT what the Cardinals did with Wainwright. Wainwright was always a starter except for that one fall, when he was near is innings limit for the year and the Cardinals needed another arm in the bullpen…he was done as a starter for the year anyway. Except for that couple of months, Wainwright has ALWAYS been a starter.

  11. contraryguy - May 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Official indeed… Chapman just scored his first save since last July. Reds finishing strong, nice weekend overall.

  12. sigep316 - May 20, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    It wasn’t because his innings were up, izzy got injured that year and wainwright stepped in. Wainwright had 61 appearances in 2006 with no games started and 75 innings pitched, he was in bullpen entire year. Check the stats if you disagree!

  13. bbk1000 - May 21, 2012 at 6:30 AM

    He actually allowed an earned run vs the Mets but it was ruled and error, which was garbage. If an outfielder leaves his feet trying to catch a ball and can’t do it, it’s a hit.

  14. stlouis1baseball - May 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Way to get on board Dusty!

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