The Cincinnati Reds were faced with a big decision this past offseason with their closer role. Would the team just keep Aroldis Chapman there or re-sign Jonathan Broxton and make him the closer? Cincinnati decided to sign Broxton and is planning to have Chapman start this year. I think that is a terrible decision by the Reds because Chapman looks a lot more comfortable in the closer’s role than as a starter.
In the bullpen, Chapman can just air it out and throw 100 MPH every pitch if he wants and he is dominating hitters doing that. Chapman as a starter can’t do those things and would need to amp it down some to get through five or six innings. I’m not mistaking Broxton being a quality closer because he has done it before for two different teams but Chapman is one of those dominant left-handed closers like Billy Wagner. No one wanted any piece of Wagner in the ninth inning and it is the same thing with Chapman.
The fear factor will be gone with Chapman as a starter and hitters will know that they won’t have to see 100 or 102 MPH on the gun every pitch. I’m sure Chapman can bring it down to closer to 95 or 96 but it is that slight difference that will change how efficient Chapman will be in 2013. Cincinnati will have spring training to decide if they really want to move Chapman or not but the best move to me would be having Broxton pitch the eighth inning and have Chapman ready to rock in the ninth.