Jonathan Broxton, coming off surgery to repair a torn flexor mass in his right forearm, might not be ready for spring training. The Reds could turn to another internal option such as J.J. Hoover, Alfredo Simon or Logan Ondrusek, but such a move would disrupt their well-constructed bullpen.
Adding a free-agent closer? Chapman, projected to earn $4.6 million in his first year of arbitration by Matt Swartz of MLBTradeRumors.com, is more affordable than any who are available – and better than any of them, too.
Remember, the Reds are trying to win. They probably do not want to add to the stress of bullpen management for Price, who is a former pitching coach but first-time manager. Oh, they always could invent a closer, but when teams do that it often is by accident, not because of any grand plan.
Reinventing Chapman as a starter actually could weaken the Reds in both the bullpen and rotation. It might take Chapman a full season to re-acclimate to starting. And who knows whether he would even succeed?
Chapman is easily flustered and does not always handle adversity well. As a starter he would be more vulnerable to irritants such as bunts, stolen bases, hitters who take pitches. As a reliever, he’s electric, a ninth-inning shot of adrenaline. Really, this choice should be easy.