March 5, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Chapman throws in the fourth inning during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. (Photo: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports)

Aroldis Chapman Prefers Closing

The only hardened debate within the Cincinnati Reds portion of the Goodyear complex this spring has been the subject of Aroldis Chapman and what his role will be for the 2013 season. Yesterday, this took a twist.

According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Chapman prefers toward closing.

“At the beginning, when I started closing, I didn’t know,” Chapman said. “Then I started getting into the late part of the game, and I liked it. The adrenaline goes up.”

Ah, that rush of adrenaline. That would pretty much do it for everyone I would surmise.

And wouldn’t you know, guess who was the one person giddy to hear this news? Reds manager Dusty Baker. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that Baker was “glad” the Cuban spoke out on the matter.

“I was going to talk to him after he pitched today for that purpose,” Baker said. “You hear all kinds of stuff — from his camp, people talking, everyone think they’re in the know. We were going to do what’s best for the organization and for him, but it makes it a lot easier when you get the person’s blessing.”

Knobler also notes that Chapman was wild allowing three walks and throwing a wild pitch. Baker stated that Chapman didn’t throw many quality pitches either. Chapman topped out at 95 mph. The days of 100+mph would appear to be over, and that may take away the edge Chapman had on opposing hitters.  That subject alone has led rival scouts to question the move. I’ve read where one associated this situation to the one in regards to Joba Chamberlain.

That’s not a good thing.

There had also been info that how the Reds were wanting to use Chapman had created a squabble between Baker and Reds GM Walt Jocketty. By practically all accounts, Baker wants Chapman closing games while Jocketty and pitching coach Bryan Price would rather see Chapman start.

I’ve long been a staunch supporter for Chapman to be a member of the Reds starting rotation. This latest development doesn’t sway my take, but it does appear we finally have something tangible on the matter from Chapman himself.

“I would like to be a closer,” he said, “but it’s up to them.”

If Chapman prefers the closer’s role, then maybe this should all now be put to rest and let him close.

Should the Reds brass now take the direction and have Chapman solely as the closer? If this is where the dust settles, it would clearly bring about the deal which brought Jonathan Broxton back to Cincinnati (3 years, $21MM with Brox making $4MM this season) and the extension the Reds granted Sean Marshall prior to last season (3 years, $16.5MM with Marshall making $4.5MM this season). Both were seemingly done with a caveat of either being the Reds closer at some point.

You don’t normally pay setup guys that kind of dough.

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