The money is in starting

So Aroldis Chapman wants to be the Reds closer? My hypothesis is that his agents wished he might reconsider. Not that more money means more happiness, the big dollars are in starting pitching.

Here are some of the very large recent signings of starting pitchers:

RHP Felix Hernandez: 7 years, $175 million with Mariners (signed 2/13/13)
RHP Zack Greinke: 6 years, $147 million with Dodgers (signed 12/10/12)
RHP Matt Cain: 6 years, $127.5 million with Giants (signed April 2012)
LHP Cliff Lee: 5 years, $120 million with Phillies (signed in Dec. 2010)
LHP Cole Hamels: 6 years, $144 million with Phillies (signed July 2012)
LHP CC Sabathia: 5 years, $122 million with Yankees (signed Oct. 2011)

The biggest closer contract ever signed was last winter by Jonathan Papelbon with the Phillies. It was four years for $50 million.

I don’t think that Chapman voicing his opinion on wanting to close will change the dynamics too much. It’s going to come down to what the organization feels is best for the Reds and Chapman in the long term.

My opinion on the matter hasn’t changed one iota. I still think Chapman should start. I think it’d be better for the club to have him work 150-200 innings rather than 70-75. I think there are too many situations where a closer isn’t needed to win. Starting pitching wins pennants and Chapman could be one of the best starters in baseball.

11 Comments

Mark i agree wholeheartedly. It was only one day but consider that the Giants had mostly their A lineup (without Posey admittedly) yesterday and Chapman though he was a bit wild still held them to 1 run over 4 innings. In the other game Mike Leake got tagged for 7 in three innings. Leake should move to relief and Chapman should start. I like Mike a lot but if he is used in the right situations he could be that Borbon Sullivan type guy along with Sam that stabilizes the pen like Borbon and Carroll did in the 70′s

If I had a middle manager and a staffer (ie. Dusty and Aroldis) undermine my corporate plans by talking to the press. Heads would roll.

Mark, think about last year when the Reds won 97 games with Chapman as closer for 5 of 6 months. The 97 games didn’t just happen. A good portion of those wins were because of Chapman. How many more games do the Reds have to win to win the Division? He can be much more valuable with the 70 plus innings as a closer than 100 to 120 innings as a starter. I don’t believe Broxton can equal Chapman’s record for last year. I still say “If it Ain’t Broken….Don’t Even Try To Fix It”. For starters….he’s not even a proven “Starter” outside of pitching for Cuba, and just how important is that?
Chapman has expressed a desire to be “the closer” and that needs to go into the equation. A happy player is a Producing Player. Simply said….”Stop Tinkering With Success”.

I will counter your 97 wins and the division point with this: how far did the Reds get in the playoffs? Chapman wasn’t a factor because they couldn’t use him as much. The Reds have to think bigger than winning divisions. And Chapman would be a potential No. 1 or 2 type starter and a big weapon if he started. And no one seems to recall that Cordero had 38 saves in 43 chances in 2011. Fans didn’t seem too happy with Cordero but saves don’t have to be pretty.

Mark, you’re dead on. Chapman not only wasn’t able to get used enough in the playoffs as the closer … Dusty wouldn’t even let him pitch a second inning in game 3 with the game tied. With Dusty’s decision making it’s even worse! Dusty wouldn’t even consider using Chapman unless it’s a save situation or the game is tied in the 9th then he won’t use him for a second inning saying he was thinking about tomorrow. Really? The series is over if you win that game … you worry about tomorrow …. tomorrow! Now Dusty is the ring leader to trying to undermine the organization’s decision to make Chapman a starter. He’s in the way and it really makes me angry. I think Dusty is usually great in the clubhouse and making the players comfortable and he helps create good team chemistry but his stubborness and game management are a real liability.I find it sad that people have put so much importance on a closer all of a sudden when it is really starting pitching that has always and probably will always be the reason teams win championships. Why are so many afraid to take a chance? … Chapman can always go back to the pen if he doesn’t succeed as a starter. I just hope it all works out … whatever happens … in the end I’m a Reds fan and I will always cheer for our Reds.

One last comment….look back on the play by play records and you will find, I believe, it was the 3rd game with SF in the playoffs, an error by Scott Rolen prevented the Reds from winning that game and ultimately lose the series, and it didn’t help when Cueto went down in game 4. It certainly was not the pitching to that point. Also, the Reds had one of the best ERAs, starters and relievers, in the major leagues. I don’t believe going to an unknown (Chapman starting) while removing a proven outstanding “closer” (Chapman) is something you would gamble doing. Again, 97 wins IS a big deal. The last time I checked you have to win your division or hope you luck out in getting a “wild card” spot to even be in the playoffs. If they do move Chapman to be a starter it would be my hope they have a backup plan if it proves to be the wrong decision.

Who was the Giants Closer to start the season? You just proved the point on why starting pitching is so much more important than closing. We lost our number 1 starter in Game 1, would be nice to still rely on Latos, Chapman, Bailey, and Arroyo at that point. Still a great combination…

But Mark, he’s going to be on an innings limit, he’s not going to come close to 200 innings. If he started, I’d be surprised to see him surpass 150.

What happens in the event of an innings limit and we make the postseason? Do we just bench one of our biggest assets? That just doesn’t make sense to me.

The dynamics of the season plan for him to be the starter needs to be spelled out in great detail.

The Reds have a chance to have a very special team this year. Based on the performance we saw last season, and based on what Chapman prefers, it seems most logical to keep him in the closers role.

Why would you not allow one of your best, and most fragile players (in terms of “head-case-ness”), to feel comfortable in his role. If Chapman feels comfortable, he’s much more likely to find success and sustain it in the long-term.

I respectfully disagree with you. Placing Chapman in the rotation is a gamble to say the least.

Look at what happened to Neftali Feliz after being a dominant closer for two straight seasons.

The Nationals were unable to use their ace in the post season.

Everything in my head screams red-flag.

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That’s my point exactly. That means that Chapman will only be helpful (start) 17-21 games based on 7 innings (average) per game and about 150 innings. It doesn’t help the Reds case when Chapman has said he would like to continue closing.
We’ll soon know if the Reds are gamblers on their $30 million investment. It’s not our money, so why should we care…unless we have some bets out on the Reds. I personally would like to see another 97 win season or more. No betting here.

The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” addage doesn’t fly here. Every one else got better, we need to do the same. Why else would we trade our starting CF from a 97 win team? It makes us better. And what Chapman could bring to the rotation far outweighs what we lose in the bullpen, i.e. we get better.

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