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Reds still haven’t given up on Aroldis Chapman as a starter

Nov 5, 2012, 3:15 PM EDT

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Aroldis Chapman worked as a starter in spring training before Ryan Madson got hurt and the Reds decided to leave him in the bullpen, where he saved 38 games with a 1.51 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 72 innings during his first season as a closer.

Three years and 137 appearances into his big-league career Chapman has never started a game for the Reds, but general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of that they still haven’t ruled out shifting him into the rotation:

We haven’t made a decision on Chapman as a starter or as a reliever. We’re talking about it. It depends on if we re-sign [Jonathan] Broxton and Madson. Or if we get another closer.

Chapman has been so dominant as a reliever that it’s no doubt tempting to just leave him alone, but if the Reds think he could handle a 180-200 inning workload that would be pretty damn tempting too.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Whoever gets to make this decision should be forced to watch Daniel Bard’s starts from 2012 on a loop until they come to the logical conclusion.

    • yahmule - Nov 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      That logical conclusion should be: Bard and Chapman are two different athletes and the failure of one has no bearing on the potential success of the other.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        The point was that when you have a guy so successful and suited to coming out of the bullpen he should probably stay there.

  2. js20011041 - Nov 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Neftali Feliz says hi. Is there even any doubt at this point that Tommy John surgery is only months away? When they signed him, they should have just let him start until he proved without a doubt that he couldn’t do it. Now, they’ve wasted three years already and this year will be semi wasted in building him up into a starting pitcher.

    • paperlions - Nov 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      Yep, that is 3 years during which he hasn’t had a chance to develop his secondary stuff or pitching approaches to get guys out multiple times. There is a reason that the 3rd time through the order is the difference between aces and mid-rotation or back of the rotation guys….you’ve got to be able to get guys out different ways when you face them multiple times the same game….aces can get guys out multiple ways, and that comes with practice, secondary pitches, and control and command.

  3. cur68 - Nov 5, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Leave ‘Roldy Alone!

  4. sportsfan69 - Nov 5, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    A say we put him in the rotation. Try him out. Nothing like having a dominant starting pitcher. Cueto, Latos, Chapman, Bailey, and Leake. Try to resign Broxton. Hoover has a bright future as a closer. Cingrini could be a starter, trade Bailey to a Texas team or another team that a good young bat that play third or left field. Pitching is a premium.

  5. yahmule - Nov 5, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    I think the idea that they’ve wasted some crucial part of his career is nonsense. The young man won’t even turn 25 until spring training. He was dynamite as a starter last spring and I’m sure he’s more than capable of gaining the necessary experience to become a successful starting pitcher in 2013 and beyond.

    • paperlions - Nov 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      He won’t be capable of getting that experience if he’s never given a chance. Being a start in ST, when starters are lucky to go beyond 5 innings isn’t a particularly useful barometer. The fact is that the Reds should already know if he can start or not, but they don’t….and he hasn’t been given much opportunity to develop the skills needed to do it. He may turn into a fine starter, and it may all work out….but it sure looks like he’s staying in the pen.

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