Feb 16, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) poses for a photo during photo day at the Reds Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Reds Three Dot Cafe: Reds Offense Ranked 6th Best, Votto’s Knee Doubts, SP Chapman


Oct 9, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) warms up during batting practice prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants in game three of the 2012 NLDS at Great American Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

According to the Bleacher Report, the Reds will open the 2013 campaign with the 6th best offense in baseball. Author Joel Reuter loves the acquisition of a bona fide lead-off man and is counting on a lineup where Phillips, Votto, Ludwick and Bruce make for a daunting gauntlet…A lukewarm murder’s row… Call it a felon’s row, until further notice…He’s got the Reds in between the Nationals (7) and the Dodgers (5)…Check out the rankings for yourself. He’s got the Cardinals listed at #4, mainly because, in typical Cardinal fashion, Allen Craig appears from no where and virtually becomes one of the game’s best clutch hitters overnight… .400 average with runners in scoring position last year.

The last article I wrote touched on Votto’s meniscus blues and I wondered if he was back to 100%… Considering that the WBC rosters are due today and Joey is still not on it, you have to at least give it some thought… Obviously, there could be internal interactions that the Buster Olneys of the world aren’t privy to - after all, if you were Walt Jocketty and the success of your entire season hung on the recently repaired right knee of your best player, do you encourage him to play in the WBC and risk it?

The endless jigsaw puzzle that is the Cincinnati Reds lineup seems to have finally been solved when the last piece was purchased out of free agency, but the final compilation of the pieces is going to look awfully bland without one of baseball’s most cerebral hitters at the 3 spot.

The topic of Aroldis Chapman has been hung on a line and mercilessly beaten with a broom stick… I’m going to give it a few whacks… You have to start Chapman…I’m not sure when a closer became the most important role in baseball – that’s a theory for folks who  aren’t paying attention. Contrary to errant popular belief, this isn’t the most difficult position in baseball, just one of the most glamorous. Peep the top ten closers in baseball last year… Then check out how much they made last season. Sergio Romo, the Giant’s “closer” amassed four saves in the playoffs. He pitched ten innings, total. Is that what you want for arguably the most overwhelming pitcher in baseball?

John Fay seemed to be impressed with Chapman’s session on Monday, which reportedly included an entire repertoire of pitches… He’s going to be fine as a starter, especially because he’ll leave the Reds bullpen in the hands of guys who finished with MLB’s lowest bullpen ERA.

Like Stallone, the closer is expendable… The Reds have too much riding on 2013 to simply bury an arm like Chapman’s in the bullpen… I’m not guaranteeing it works… I’m not saying he couldn’t falter as a starter… I’m saying you absolutely have to find out.

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