Saturday, December 7, 2013

Aroldis Chapman: I'm not going to start


One of the biggest questions being tossed around Reds camp this offseason is what to do with Aroldis Chapman. Namely, how to best utilize the talented southpaw's overpowering arm. Should the Reds put him in the starting rotation or leave him in the bullpen as closer?

Well, Chapman was asked what his preference was on Saturday during Redsfest, and he seems to have no intentions of pitching every five days.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

“I am preparing myself as every offseason, getting myself ready to close,” Chapman said. “Starting hasn’t even crossed my mind and I’m not going to do it either.”

“I don’t want to — and it’s difficult that I’d do it,” Chapman said.

The debate about whether or not to start Chapman has raged on ever since Cincinnati signed him prior to the 2010 campaign. However, after multiple attempts to convert him to a starter, injuries and other circumstances have sent him back to the 'pen.

Naturally, Chapman is extremely tired of hearing about it.

"I’m tired of every year the same thing about me either starting or closing,” Chapman told The Enquirer in Spanish, without an interpreter. “What I have in mind is closing games and that’s it.”

Unfortunately, the decision won't be totally up to Chapman. New manager Bryan Price has expressed a desire to transition the Cuban native to the rotation in previous years. So it's safe to assume Price is at least pulling the possibilities again. When informed of Chapman's remarks about not wanting to start, Price didn't seem all that bothered by them.

“I think probably until last year, he wasn’t undecided but was more willing to take a look and kick the tires of starting again,” Price said. “Having made the All-Star team twice as a closer and he’s had success in the role. I get it, it’s like Mike Leake coming in thinking he has to fight it out for the fifth spot every year. After a while, you just get tired of answering the questions. You get comfortable enough in your status and stature on the club to speak your mind. I’m not surprised at all that he said that and to be honest with you, it doesn’t really bother me.”

“I’m sure there’s going to be more chapters to this,” Price said. “But I’d like to put it to bed, myself.”

Amen, Price. As would the rest of us.

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