Originally Posted by Reds/Flyers Fan
I really hope they don't mess around with Chapman. Leave him where he is now. As it stands, if the Reds have the lead after 6 or 7 innings the game is essentially over. Don't mess with that.
Chapman is the Reds' Mariano Rivera.
I can see that point of view. I can also see how the Reds would be much more likely to have that lead after 6 or 7 innings if Chapman started the game instead of Mike Leake.
It comes down to deciding between getting 60* innings or 175-200+ innings out of Aroldis Chapman each year. I am sure the hitters on opposing teams would prefer that Chapman only pitch 60 innings.
It is easier and cheaper to obtain another late-inning reliever than to obtain an ace-level starting pitcher.
A major factor in the decision will be what the Reds feel is the best way to keep Chapman healthy. A pitcher can get injured just as easily as a reliever than as a starter. Some pitchers have funky deliveries that would make them more likely to get injured as a starter where they would be throwing more pitches. I don't think Aroldis Chapman fits into that category. He has a smooth clean delivery. Personally I think Chapman is less likely to get injured as a starter than as a reliever. He seems to struggle with repeated usage, so I think having at least five days (six with a team off day) between efforts would be great for him.
The Reds' plans for Tony Cingrani are going to factor strongly into their plans for Aroldis Chapman. There is a lot of discussion about whether Cingrani is destined to be a starting pitcher or a stud reliever in the major leagues. Like Aroldis, Cingrani is a left-handed pitcher but is not merely a LOOGY. If the Reds feel that Cingrani is ready to take a role as a late-inning reliever for the Reds in 2013 then he could alleviate the loss of Chapman in the bullpen and make it easier for the team to put the Missile in the rotation. If the Reds feel Cingrani should remain a starting pitcher then they will have to find another alternative to replace Chapman in the bullpen, possibly Madson or another free agent reliever. Maybe they have JJ Hoover pegged in that role.
Chris Sale of the White Sox is an example of a young relief pitcher who was transitioned to the starting rotation with great success in 2012. Like Chapman, he had been a starting pitcher his whole life until being used in the bullpen upon breaking into the major leagues. I think he is a better comparison than Stephen Strasburg, who was coming off Tommy John surgery.
* Chapman has averaged 60 innings per season so far. 50 in 2011 and 71 in 2012.