Aroldis Chapman Delivers a pitch against the Dodgers Friday.
Finally the Reds brass made it official yesterday, Aroldis Chapman will be the closer for the 2013 Reds and Mike Leake will be the teams 5th starter. It was obvious for the past several days that this was going to be the outcome but for whatever reason the Reds chose not to announce it until now. Here is the transcript from Friday's announcement from manager Dusty Baker and G.M. Walt Jocketty:
Baker: You know we made a decision on our rotation. It's Cueto,Latos, Bronson, Homer Bailey, and Leake.
Reporter: So the other end of that is pretty obvious then.
Baker: You figure it out.
Reporter: What ultimately swayed you to having Chapman in the Bullpen?
Baker: Well, umm Walt..
Jocketty: Well I think 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 was to leave the rotation as is. We had 4 guys who pitched 200
so that's a very strong rotation and putting Chapan back in the closer role uh bringing Broxton,
Broxton might close some games. It gives us a very strong bullpen. You know as we evaluated it we
just felt that was the best way and Leake's had a good spring. We think he's pitched very good.
Dusty's been happy, Bryan's been happy, and I've been happy and so as long as we felt he was close
to you know
Baker: Yea, and see we didn't think it was built up to be like Leake vs Chapman, that's not how it was. We
lined them up on the same day in or Chapman if we thought it was better for our team and give us a better chance to win and settin' up
Reporter: Seems like it woud be a different situation if you guys were like kind of rebuilding. I mean the
decision with Chapman seems like it would be different if maybe you were lookin' at maybe third
or fourth place and you're lookin' to next year but you're ready to win now.
Jocketty: We're a team built to win now and this gives us the best, in our opinion give us the best
opportunity to do that.
Baker: It's not like Chapman didn't have success. I mean this guy's an all-star. He had 47 whatever it was
Jocketty: and we, he some day may be a starter here
Jocketty: Right now this puts us in the best position to be successful
Reporter: Is he strictly going to be a 1 inning guy or is there any thought, he's stretched out a little bit
Baker: Well, last year he started out as a two inning guy remember? You know and he's a setup man so
right now we're just going to try to get him into situations similar to the game where he's pitch 1
every 4 or 5 days and get him in games where his arm will rebound back to back games. So
that's why we felt the need to do it now while we had a few days of spring trianing left.
Reporter: So he's going to be the closer or are you going to use him and Broxton. There's not....
Baker: No, he's the closer and then on days he can't pitch then we have Broxton. It's no different than last
year, you know were going to consecutive days just like we did last year.
Reporter: You guys gave Broxton closer like money in the contract.
Jocketty: Well, it depends on what level of closer,. What did Soriano just sign for? 14, Papalbon 15?. Closers
are getting 12-15 million. The late inning, quality setup guys are getting in the range that Broxton
Baker: It shows you the importance of that job.
Jocketty: And it was important that we sign him back to give us the bullpen, the flexibility in the bulklpen we had
Reporter: Safe to say he's on board, Broxton. You guys talk to him, he's on board with..
Baker: We talked to everybody. We talked to everybody before we talked to you guys.
Jocketty: He had said, told Dusty that he would pitch in any role
Baker: He jsut wants to win
Reporter: He knew that coming in when he signed right?
Jocketty: Yep. That was expressed when we signed him.
Reporter: When Chapman said, I want to be a closer it got such publicity but within your minds did that factor in at all?
Jocketty: No, well here's what I would say, My answer is, number one, we don't let players tell us where they want to
play. You know Joey might want to play third base or something. But you know I think it certainly is a
factor because he's comfortable in that role and he had success in that role but ultimately...
Baker: But sometimes you ask him. I didn't ask him, he unsolicited he said that because you want a guy at a
comfort level. But you're payin' somebody they're not going to..you know, you tell your boss what to do?
You won't be working' long. Plus that don't interest us and that's not really and it don't have any
factor in the decision.
Reporter: There's been a lot of outside debate. People are in one camp or the other. Was there a split in the
Baker: Well it was the same when I go to the streets last year.
Jocketty: John let me clarify this. You guys were making a big deal out of this and it's not you know.
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 of closer. We waited until the end of last spring trianing,
maybe a few days earlier because of injury but to see what, what puts us in the best position
to win and that's all we're concerned with is...
Baker: And contrary to what people think. They're always trying to have a division and a wedge between
the manager and general manager. This ain't the first time this has happened but it seems like, it
seems like for a lack of a story that's not right but it is what it is.
Reporter: Pretty boring camp otherwise..
Jocketty: It's been pretty boring, you're right
Reporter: Every national guy that came in, that's what he wrote about
Baker: Oh do I know...(laughter) We're ready to get our team together and play ball
Reporter: I know you have to get to October first by winning the division but like last year, you guys didn't
have much opportunity to use Chapman in the closer role because of the situations. When you don't
have access to him as much is that a way of not having one of your better arm available to you more
Baker: Well where would he have...
Reporter: I'm saying if he is a starter
Baker: Listen, where would we have been had he not been in that role? We might not have even made it
to be in that situation not to use him> Like I told you earlier, he had a chance to be our best starter
ad our best closer, our best reliever. And that being said I've been in this situation before with Billy
Swift. At the time we discussed it and wheat we needed that time was Billy Swift tostart. And like
what did Chapman account for, 60% of our wins?..umm 58, 59at least right? O aom't that good with
reporter: The arguement so often comes down to number of innings, the impact a guy can have on a number
of innings. Do you feel that maybe a closer can have (more ) impact on one inning than ..because you
say a guy who pitches 200 innnings if he's your best arm, 200 innings is better than 50 innings
Jocketty: We wouldn't have gotten 200 innings out of him this year.
Baker: And there's another point you know. Number 1 starter is worth more than your closer but how do you
know he's a number 1 or not? I mean and hopefully someday, I'm serious. Hopefully someday we'll find that
Reporter: Was there any thought of doing something liek what the Braves did with Medlen last year or is that just
Jocketty: Then we were talking about usage, innings and stuff, that was what I discussed with Bryan at one
point but we never really devised an exact plan.
(note: there were a number of reporters in the room but becasue I didn't know some of them I decided just to use the generic "reporter")
Mike Leake was named the 5th starter Friday.
Cueto to start the Opener
Johnny Cueto was officially named the Opening Day starter Friday. The pitching rotation is now set. Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, and Leake.
Dusty Baker and Joey Votto visit with Magic Johnson before Friday's game.
A decision on Aroldis Chapman may already be made but it hasn't been
made public yet.
Aroldis Chapman makes my head hurt. Well really the circus surrounding Chapman is the problem. Here we are just over a week away from Opening Day and there is no official word on whether he will start or close. When asked about reports that the Reds would have some announcement yesterday, Reds Manger Dusty Baker said, "I don't know where that came from, we didn't say that. There's plenty of speculation everyday. I told you, I'll let you know soon." Baker is well aware that this decision will fuel a lot of talk, "Everybody has an opinion one way or the other. No matter which way we go (with Chapman) it's a topic of discussion. Everybody has an opinion but Walt (Jocketty) and I are used to making tough decisions. This is what this business is all about."
In an attempt to get an answer in a roundabout way, Jay Fay asked Dusty (half jokingly) how many innings Chapman was pitching tomorrow (Friday) Dusty simply replied "that isn't funny John."
So who starts today? The Reds notes say Mike Leake but apparently that may not be the case, so we'll see.
Luckily Johnny Cueto has one more spring start before the regular season begins. Thursday Cueto didn't make it out of the 2nd inning as the Oakland A's batted around. He gave up all 5 runs in the 2nd including a two run bomb off the bat of Derek Norris. His pitching line:
1.2ip, 5h, 5er, 2bb, 1k, 1hr
On the spring Cueto has allowed 19 hits, 2 home runs, and 13 earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched.
Mark Prior gets ready to make his first appearance of the spring for
the big league team.
Mark Prior delivers a pitch in Thursday's game against Oakland.
Mark Prior Debut
Right hander Mark Prior who was signed by the Reds March 1, made his first appearance with the big league team Thursday. Prior did not allow a hit or a run in one inning of work. He struck out one and hit a batter.
The 32 year old Prior was an 18 game winner for the Cubs in 2003 but by 2006 had developed arm problems and hasn't appeared a Major League game since August 10 of that year. Dusty Baker was his manager with the Cubs an is often blamed for over using Prior and in so doing hurting his arm. Here's hoping Prior can make it all the way back.
Derrick Robinson crosses home plate after hitting his first home run of
the spring Thursday.
We'll see you soon kid
Outfielder Derrick Robinson has been impressive this spring training. The 25 year old switch hitter was 2 for 4 Thursday against Oakland and hit his first home run of the Cactus League season. He is now batting .385 with 8 rbi's. Robinson who hit .268 for AAA Omaha (Royals) last season signed a minor league contract with the Reds last December.
Choo stil on the shelf
Shin-Soo Choo was not in the lineup again yesterday. He hasn't played since March 15 because of back Spasms. The plan was for him to have a full workout on the complex yesterday and get him back in the lineup the next couple of days,." We hope so. We'd like to get him in (the lineup) probably a week from starting (the season) but again you don't know. We try not to have any setbacks becasue that'll make it worse. When it comes to back spasms and the back you're just guessing but he's better." This is the first time in his career Choo has had back problems.
Right Hander Alfredo Simon who was part of the Dominican team in the World Baseball Classic has not appeared in a game for the Reds since February 28 and is not scheduled to pitch Friday against the Dodgers. You have to wonder if Simon is one guy who hurt his chances of making the team by playing in the WBC. What may work in his favor is the fact that he is really the only long relief man on the team (although Logan Ondrusek could possibly fill that void) and he is also out of options.
Opening Day, Welcome American League
For the first time ever, interleague play will begin Opening Day when the LA Angles come to GABP. "Very strange", said Baker "because usually this doesn't happen until like June or July, but this adds even more importance to your interleague record. It's at least 10% of your schedule (13% actually). Those games could mean the difference between winning a pennant and going to the playoffs and not."
Baker also pointed out that a National League team is going to be playing an American League team everyday. "It really increases your work load on scouting and advance reports."
When the Angels come to town they Lose the DH and Baker joked he hopes Albert Pujols is on the bench, "I wouldn't mind if Albert just spectated."
Catcher Ryan Hanigan signals to one of the infielders during
Thursday's game against Oakland.
The infamous gun fight actually took place in a lot west of the Corral.
I was a typical Tourist Wednesday and headed to Tombstone Arizona to see where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holladay did their thing back in the 1880's. While it was a little cheesy, it's still worth the three hour drive from Goodyear. The best part is that the people who work there are as bored as BMV employees.
He's no Val Kilmer
Doc Holliday getting ready to fight
Not exactly as solemn as it should be but some interesting people are
Soiled Doves is code for Prostitute, who knew..
Back to Baseball Today
Reds take on the Oakland A's today. Johnny Cueto makes his next to last start of the spring. Hopefully we'll know today the fate of Aroldis Chapman.