The Cincinnati Reds now have a new manager, and the front office seems to all be on board with moving closer Aroldis Chapman to the starting rotation in 2014. The Cuban born superstar has dazzled fans and hitters alike with his 100 mph fastballs, but the Reds think that his power arm would serve them better as a starter. They will start the transition this spring.
New manager Bryan Price was asked about his thoughts of making Chapman a starter in his interview for the Reds job. He was quick to point out that he felt Chapman was a top of the rotation type of pitcher who clearly was capable of going more than one inning at a time as he has as a closer thus far.
Price repeatedly indicated that as a coach he wanted to give Chapman an opportunity to start, preferring to use him in a 200-inning role instead of a 60-inning role, but former Reds manager Dusty Baker wanted no part of that plan. Baker felt that Chapman was a closer, end of story, no more discussion needed.
Now Price is the man in charge and that likely means Chapman will get what the left-hander has always wanted — a chance to be a starting pitcher in MLB. The last time that Chapman was a starting pitcher was back when he joined the Reds and was in the minor leagues in 2010.
He has been one of baseball’s most feared and effective closers. He had another outstanding season for the Reds in 2013 with 38 saves and a 2.54 ERA with an eye popping 16 strikeouts per nine innings. That will be tough to replace, but on the other hand a left handed pitcher with the power arm that Chapman has in the Reds rotation is worth a great deal more to the team over time.