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Reds, Aroldis Chapman squelch latest rumors suggesting a move to the rotation

Dec 7, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

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In what has become an annual tradition, rumors have begun to swirl suggesting Reds closer Aroldis Chapman could move into the starting rotation. The lefty has ranked among baseball’s top-five relievers over each of the past two seasons, but he would theoretically provide more value in the rotation. Neither the team nor Chapman is interested in such a move, however.

Via C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“Aside from that, I’m tired of every year the same thing about me either starting or closing,” Chapman told The Enquirer in Spanish, without an interpreter. “What I have in mind is closing games and that’s it.”

[...]

“I am preparing myself as every offseason, getting myself ready to close,” Chapman said. “Starting hasn’t even crossed my mind and I’m not going to do it either.”

Chapman said nobody’s talked to him about starting and he doesn’t see it as a transition he can make.

“I don’t want to — and it’s difficult that I’d do it,” Chapman said.

Chapman finished the 2013 season with the highest strikeout rate among qualified relievers at 43.4 percent, well above second-place Greg Holland‘s 40.4 percent. He also posted a 2.54 ERA, averaged nearly four strikeouts for every one walk, and tied for the eighth-most saves in baseball with 38.

  1. timstl - Dec 7, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    Come on, guys. The Reds are just trolling everyone, every year.

  2. slaugin - Dec 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Not news

  3. steelers88 - Dec 7, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    I personally think he should remain as the closer his a bigger asset in my mind at the back of the bullpen than in the rotation.

  4. paperlions - Dec 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    I would just like to thank the Reds for their tireless work to try to limit the value they get out of Chapman.

    • timburns116 - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:37 AM

      It takes effort and perseverance to waste talent and money like that

  5. realitypolice - Dec 7, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Ask the Yankees about assuming that you have to try to turn every quality arm you have into a starter. Some guys have starter make up, some guys have reliever make up. As I posted in the article about him earlier today, Joba Chamberlain was on his way to making a huge impact as Mariano’s set up man and eventual successor when the Yankees insisted on trying to squeeze maximum value out of him by making him a starter. In the process, they destroyed his confidence and eventually his arm.

    Chapman can have a positive influence on 45 or so games per year as a closer. Count your blessing and don’t go fixing what ain’t broke.

    • jonrox - Dec 8, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      Am I also allowed to ask the White Sox how Chris Sale worked out?

      • realitypolice - Dec 8, 2013 at 1:33 AM

        You can ask anything you want. I’m not saying that no reliever can ever make the transition. But since you brought it up, Sales ERA has been nearly a run higher since he became a starter.

      • jonrox - Dec 8, 2013 at 1:38 AM

        You mean a half run higher (implying ERA is a good stat to measure pitcher effectiveness). Also, he’s more than doubled his WAR per season since making the transition. In fact, he (BR) WAR this year was exactly THREE TIMES as much as his full season as a reliever. You don’t win any Aroldis Chapman arguments that descend into Chris Sale arguments, because he is the epitome of why you give guys a chance to start until they prove they can’t.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 1:04 PM

      “was on his way to making a huge impact as Mariano’s set up man”

      He had a bad ass 24 innings. Let’s not get carried away with him establishing himself as a lockdown reliever.

      “making him a starter”

      Joba had been a starter his entire career until Joe Torre desperately needed to save his job.

  6. sportsfan69 - Dec 7, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Chapman is a door closer, smasher. Commenters like Paperlion, don’t know baseball and understand Chapman is a rare commodity as a closer. Chapman has three pitches, fast ball, splitter, and change-up. His curve ball is still a work in progress. If the curve ball can be added, then maybe Chapman can be a starter. Chapman likes closing games, he has the mindset for it.

    • paperlions - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:11 AM

      Except, of course, that being a closer isn’t nearly as difficult or valuable as being a solid 200 inning starter.

      An average closer successfully converts 90% of his save chances. It just isn’t as hard as people act like it is to pitch one inning to preserve 1 to 3 run leads. The way “closers” are used these days severely limits their value to a team.

      Chapman had always been a starter until the Reds brought him up out of necessity his first year. Since then, they have retarded his development and now he doesn’t want to start. Regardless of what he wants, he’s never going to be 1/2 the pitcher he could have been if he is just throwing 60 innings/year.

      • timburns116 - Dec 31, 2013 at 12:39 AM

        He won’t get the 100 million as a closer either

  7. metalhead65 - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    they made him a reliever for a reason and that was he was not cutting it as a starter in the minors. he had trouble with his control and rarely went more than 5 innings as a starter. this is not cuba but the major leagues so to think he could be a dominant starter just because there is naive. plus with baker not here he might actually be used properly. there were times last season he would not pitch for a week to 9 days at a time. then when he finally did get into games after a layoff that long he was wild and hit hard. then baker would go the other extreme and use him 4 straight days. no wonder he has had to be shut down 2 years in a row for a tired arm. price will know how to use him effectively without wearing him out,

    • jonrox - Dec 8, 2013 at 1:19 AM

      Ya. 60 innings as a 22 year old playing for the first time in the MLB system at AAA certainly gives us enough data to determine whether he can cut it as a starter.

  8. jonrox - Dec 8, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    Chapman is wasted talent as a pure “closer”. As a “closer”, his one job is to “close” the games out, and he is essentially league average at converting those opportunities (~88% vs ~89%). All those strikeouts and 100 mph pitches just mean he is the best league average close in the game. He either needs to be starting or used in all of the high leverage situations. It’s just amazing how much his value has been stunted by Dusty and/or Jocketty.

  9. platediscipline - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    IMHO, AC does not have the work ethic or makeup to be a MLB starter. That he accepted the easy-out of being a closer tells me a lot about his desire to reach his potential. As it is, he is league average closer who just happens to have a wild but electric arm. He has a two-pitch repertoire and from two years of ST I don’t see any push to even add a third. An 80 fastball (plus a 55 slider) is all you’re going to get out of AC. He is what he is. I think the Reds are better served by keeping him in the BP (or even trading him). YMMV

  10. yahmule - Dec 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Whether he’s being used to his maximum effectiveness, some pitchers are just more comfortable as closers. Chapman is far from the first and he won’t be the last.

    It is much easier to identify ways to increase productivity from an outside perspective than is always practicable in real life.

  11. davidbrentfan - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Don’t even try to make him a SP- brilliant move.
    A MLB SP who pitches 200 innings per season with an ERA of 4.10 probably has more value than Chapman.

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