Decision: Chapman to be Reds closer
After deeply considering switching Aroldis Chapman into the rotation, the Reds have abandoned the plan and announced Friday that the lefty will return to the bullpen as their closer.
Chapman’s return to the closer’s role means that Mike Leake will leave camp as Cincinnati’s fifth starter.
“Like last year, it was a tough decision but I think we felt what gave us the best opportunity as an organization to win this year would be to leave the rotation as is,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “We had four guys that pitched 200 innings. Hopefully we can do that again. We have another guy who is capable of pitching 200 innings in Leake. That’s a very strong rotation.
“We’re a team built to win now. In our opinion, this gives us the best opportunity.”
“He is the closer,” Baker said. “On the days he can’t pitch, we’ll have Broxton. It’s no different from last year. We’re going to limit his consecutive days just like we did last year.”
Both Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker denied any split within the organization during the decision-making process.
“You guys made a big deal out of this,” Jocketty said. “You’ve exaggerated the point where you think there’s a big in-house battle. There is not a big in-house battle. We approached this spring exactly the same as last year with Chapman that he was going to be either a starter or closer.”
“Contrary to what people think, they’re always trying to have a division or wedge between the manager and general manager,” Baker said. “This ain’t the first time that has happened. It’s like [it’s done] for the lack of a story. It’s not right.”
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