Most things are set as far as the roster goes in Cincinnati Reds spring training. There is only one little thing still hanging around that isn’t decided. Aroldis Chapman, who did a great job closing last season, is up for the fifth starter position. Last season the fifth starter was Mike Leake. Leake is still with the club and by all rights would still be the guy in the fifth slot if it weren’t for Chapman’s development into a starter.
This is a very interesting situation. The Reds supposedly have been interested in making Chapman a starter since they signed him. Just because he did great closing last year doesn’t mean they gave up on that dream. This spring he is being stretched into four and more innings to see how he does with the starter workload. Obviously there would be some issues with him starting after playing the closer role last year but he would be fine in the long run.
Nothing against Leake, he has done a fine job there for the Reds and probably will continue to in some respect. Chapman however, has the stuff to be an ace level pitcher very soon. The Reds know the sooner they get him in that position, the sooner he will be throwing up a W every fifth day. Honestly, it is only a tough decision for reasons other than baseball reasons. Leake is a good guy and Dusty Baker likes him a lot. He might have to give him the bad news this season though.
Chapman is on his way to the starting rotation and Leake is the man that is going to have to be moved for that to happen. In all likelihood all will work out fine for Leake. Chapman needs to be starting this season, period. In spite of the hard part of the choice, it is a choice that needs to be made.