Well, seems like the “controversy” over where the Reds should have Aroldis Chapman is, for the time being, over. Paul Daugherty on The Morning Line stated earlier today that the Reds will place Chapman in the closer’s role. As you can well imagine, Twitter went ablaze.
And that blaze was pretty much divided on the matter. I’d go so far to say that the BRM staff might be divided as well. I’ve long stated my desire to see #54 start. Others here have expressed the opposite. There are some notes to be taken here.
1. The Reds have MLB’s best bullpen. Did last year, too. In essence, only one change will be made from last year’s ‘pen: the potential addition of Manny Parra provided he makes the 25-man roster. A great bullpen is NOT a guarantee of success. You only have to look at the end result of last season. Yes, bring up Johnny Cueto‘s injury, but in how many games did Chapman appear in last year’s NLDS? Now, how many games did he make a difference? I can answer that…none.
No question a great bullpen helps a great deal, but you are now relying on the starting staff producing not only at the same level as it did last season, but with the luck of starting every game (save the one from Todd Redmond). If that happens again this year, many would be shocked.
Yes, the Reds will once again possess a great ‘pen, but for those wanting an upgrade for the #5 starter (and Mike Leake is NOT a bad choice for the slot), you’re choices are becoming increasingly slimmer by the minute.
If you’re one that supports the Reds now going after Kyle Lohse, think again. He wasn’t exactly a happy camper during his first term in Cincinnati. Yes, this is now different ownership, but look here, per Ken Rosenthal on MLB Buzz.
The biggest problem for the Rockies, though, is that Lohse likely would prefer to pitch for a team that plays in a less hitter-friendly environment than Coors Field.
“What? That’s about the Rockies,” you say. Sure it is, but take out “Rockies” and insert “Reds’. Remove “Coors Field” and replace with “GABP”. Both fit.
2. The signing of Jonathan Broxton looks silly. Why give a guy a three year, $21MM deal? Because you thought you would have Chapman in your starting rotation. If the front office was operating under any other pretense, I would question its collective sanity.
There is now $12MM committed to the trio of Chapman ($3.5MM), Jonathan Broxton ($4MM) and Sean Marshall ($4.5MM). (Baseball Prospectus has Chapman down for $4.7MM, but the actual verbiage states $2MM this season plus a $1.5MM portion of his signing bonus.) The Reds may have one of the highest paid bullpens in the bigs. Maybe the bigger pink elephant is that of the $3.1MM to be given to Nick Masset.
3. If Chapman is the closer, Mike Leake will be you 5th starter. For those in the camp of having Chapman close, I ask: Is that okay? Conversely, I ask those that prefer to see the Cuban Missile start, you would of seen Broxton close: Would that have been okay? You have a chance to answer by voting in our poll and the comments section.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen one issue create such a divide among the Reds fanbase. Sure, there has been the chatter about Chris Heisey: starter or bench, but that was not on near the level this has taken. At least it doesn’t seem that way.
And it no one’s surprise, the Reds are mum on this.
So, with the decision apparently made, what is your take?