Monday, April 23, 2012

The Cuban Missile Dilemma

Well, here we are, 16 games into the season, just around 10% of the year is complete and we still have a major decision that everyone keeps talking about.  We all know what that decision is, it's the Aroldis Champman debate.  Should he start or should he be in the bullpen?  Should he be "wasted" as a setup man, or should he flourish and live up to his full potential as a starter?  What I believe is again not what everyone else believes.  Here is my reasoning why, and what I think the Reds need to do.  I'm sure you'll still disagree, but maybe at least you'll have more of an open mind.

First off, I just want to reiterate what I thought should have happened at the beginning of the season.  I was on record saying that Chapman should not have started in the bullpen.  I thought he should have been in Louisville starting in the rotation.  It is only a matter of time that a starter in the majors either gets hurt or becomes so ineffective the only option is to get someone else.  When this happened, Chapman would be the man to fill in and prosper.  In going this route, he would be fully stretched out and he would get even more experience as a starter.  My second option would have been to put him in the rotation if that is what the Reds wanted to do, if they felt like Leake or Bailey just wasn't the answer.  My third option would have been to put him in the pen in the majors.  Now, that was my third option but once Bray, Masset, and Madson went down, I agreed with the decision to put him in the pen.  You need to have a good bullpen, bottom line, no question about it.  No team has ever won the World Series with a bad bullpen, not one.  (That last comment was based on rather extensive research, ha, not really, but it's probably true right?)

Aroldis Chapman has been lights out this year.  I've seen the stats, he's averaging almost 17 K's per 9 innings, he has only 2 walks, hasn't given up a run.  The numbers are staggering across the board.  But I totally disagree with every tweet, text message, and facebook post I get every time he strikes out a guy.  Put him in the rotation!!!  WHY ISN'T HE STARTING!!!  This guy is a setup man?!?!?!  Look, Chapman looks like he could be the next Randy Johnson.  He has the stuff, no doubt about it.  I think he will be a great starter someday, I really believe that.  But right now, he needs to be in the Reds bullpen, not in the starting rotation. 

You people realize that if Chapman is in the rotation, he won't be able to come into the game in the late innings right?  You understand that right?  Do you really?  So you are comfortable with Cueto going seven and handing the ball over to Ondrusek, Bray, and Arredondo with a one run lead in the 8th against the Cardinals?  Well, I'm definitely not comfortable with that thought.  Not even close.  His value is maximized this year out of the pen.  I said this year, not career.  Right now I don't like the idea of Aroldis pitching once every five days and not being available to shut people down in the late innings.  Ya, he might throw an eight inning gem and get a win, but he also might face a discipline team that just takes pitches and makes him throw 100 pitches in five innnings.  So now your best pitcher has thrown 5 innings and won't be able to help for the next four games.  I don't want that to happen right now.  I know what some of you are saying, "Well, Dusty only uses him once every five days anyway," well that my friends is a topic for another day.  But I'm saying, if used correctly, if used as a setup man in the seventh and eighth innings, if used to get a starter out of a late inning jam, Aroldis Chapman will be an absolute stud and an absolute MVP of this team if he stays in the bullpen this season. 

Real quick, I just want to squash some argument I've been hearing from some fans.  This whole idea of Aroldis has done what he was asked and the Reds owe it to him to be in the starting rotation needs to stop.  The Reds gave this guy 30 million dollars to leave Cuba and come play baseball, I don't think they owe anything to him.  He owes it to the Reds to do what he is asked to do and do it to the best of his ability, and right now that is what he is doing, and we are reaping the benefits.  No matter what management decides, I for one am going to enjoy watching this kid tear up the NL this year.  Heck, I already am, and I know you are too.  So let's just let it ride.


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1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Until the bats come back consistently, they're in for a lot of 1-2 run, late inning games.