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The Reds make it official: Aroldis Chapman will be the closer

Mar 22, 2013, 5:40 PM EDT

aroldis chapman getty Getty Images

This was reported yesterday, but today the Reds officially announced it: Aroldis Chapman will be the closer.

Walt Jocketty made the announcement at Reds camp today. He added that Jonathan Broxton will be the setup man and Mike Leake is in the rotation.  He added that he had not, contrary to popular opinion, been pushing for Chapman to be in the rotation.  This provides some support to Dusty Baker who, likely in keeping with popular opinion, wants to keep Chapman in the pen.

All in all: not the biggest deal in the world. As a matter of principle we should all want good pitchers being tested as starters unless or until it is shown that they can’t do it, simply because 170 innings of good starting is worth way more than 60 innings of great relief.  But in this particular case — a team with a pretty solid rotation as it is — it’s probably not gonna make the biggest difference on the planet. At least not now.

  1. manute - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Well, it’s kind of a big deal in that they went out and signed a closer to a 3-year/$21M deal his offseason.

    • paperlions - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      Yeah, but that was a bad deal no matter what they planned on doing with Broxton.

  2. chacochicken - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    I wonder what the statistical difference would be if Chapman went into the rotation and Mike Leake was sent to the bullpen or, hell, even made the closer. I don’t think this helps the Reds over the course of the season.

  3. mrredlegz - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    I wonder why everyone is so down on Mike Leake. He’s barely 25. He throws 4 pitches for strikes. He stepped straight off the mound at Arizona State into the Reds’ rotation. I don’t care what you say, that takes a helluva lot of talent.

    The kid had one tough season. He still took the mound 28 times. I think you can do a whole lot worse than Mike Leake as your 5th starter. Shit, I’d take Leake over Bronson Arroyo any day of the week.

    • paperlions - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      Leake is fine, but he is what he is, there isn’t any ceiling there. I agree. Many teams won’t have a 5th starter as good as he is….but if you can replace Leake with a flame throwing Chapman, that is a heck of a potential upgrade….plus, it gives the Reds rotational depth. They have some very solid arms on the way, but I think those guys are all more likely to be ready in 2014-2015 than this year.

      • mrredlegz - Mar 22, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        I’ve never gotten the impression that Chapman had the mental makeup needed to go 7 innings, pitch out of jam, etc. He’s a flame thrower. A fire baller. Give him a clean slate, a one or two run lead, and let him mow down the side.

        And this one belongs to the Reds!

  4. paperlions - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    My impression of Chapman wanting to close rather than start is: “Starting is hard, I don’t even want to see if I can do it, closing is easy, I’d prefer to just stick with that”…..which is fine, I guess, but don’t you generally want players to challenge themselves?

    • thebadguyswon - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      If he’s an elite closer, which he is, why mess with it?

      • gigab0t - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        Who gave you the thumbs-down for this? I totally agree with you.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:40 PM

        Because above average starters are far more valuable than elite closers.

    • chill1184 - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:51 PM

      “don’t you generally want players to challenge themselves?”

      Yes and No

      Pitchers are considered to be creatures of habit and routine. Shifting a good relief pitcher which is Chapman to the starter role can have a mental and possible perform effect. While its nice to have a pitcher that can play both the starter and reliever roles sometimes its more trouble than its worth.

      • paperlions - Mar 22, 2013 at 8:04 PM

        So….then you were against it when they took Chapman, who had always been a starter, and moved him to the bullpen….you know…because he’s a creature of habit. Guys are moved from the pen to the rotation or vise versa all the time in HS, in college, in the minors, and in the majors….the “creatures of habit” thing is a red herring, there is no evidence that it exists.

        Every guy in the bullpen is a failed starter….or rather, should be a failed starter, until a guy proves he can’t start, you are cutting off his value by making him a reliever. It is like saying, “Sure, he could be a GG-caliber SS, but he’s doing great in LF, so why mess with it?” Same answer, because a good defensive SS (or SP) is far more valuable than a great defensive LF (or RP).

  5. thebadguyswon - Mar 22, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Good call by the Reds.

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