Let's continue our tour of the divisions with news from the NL Central…
- "The Reds’ handling of Aroldis Chapman is beginning to resemble Joba Chamberlain 2.0," writes Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan. Cincinnati is leaning towards using Chapman as a reliever this season but Passan argues that a pitcher with Chapman's potential should be given the chance to start and not worry about being shuttled between the rotation and the bullpen. Another note from the piece is that Chapman's velocity is down to the 92-95 mph range this spring, but Chapman has been pleased with his improved command and his new pitch, a splitter.
- Like Chapman, Jeff Francis has pitched well this spring but may not find a spot in the Reds rotation, prompting ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter) to consider Francis an "affordable alternative for teams in the John Lannan hunt." Francis signed a minor league deal with the Reds that contains an opt-out clause for March 28 that he could exercise if he doesn't think he'll find a job in Cincinnati. (In regards to Lannan, he could be off the trade market altogether given Chien-Ming Wang's hamstring injury today.)
- Nick Punto told reporters (including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) that his top two offseason options were the Cardinals and Red Sox, but the Cards never made him a contract offer.
- Astros minor leaguer Angel Heredia has been suspended for 50 games following a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, reports The Associated Press. Heredia, a right-handed pitcher, played for Houston's Dominican Summer League team.
Chapman’s velocity is down to 92? That is what really worries me. It is likely because he isn’t letting it all go since he needs to go multiple innings. Hopefully that’s the reason, at least. It seems like 95-96, not 92, should be his low point as a starter on his fastball if his max is 105. And I agree, he should be a starter.
Exactly what Im thinking
Kinda going to miss Shredder.
How can the Cardinals be an option for Nick Punto if they didn’t offer him a contract? Sounds like an oxymoron to me…
Probably means that the Cards were where he wanted to go, but when they never offered a contract the Red Sox became his top choice.
“I can either take the Dodge or the Cadillac today. If only I owned a Cadillac”
Chapman is FINE, they have said he isn’t even letting loose, he is a SP. No more bullpen talk, and Francis is going to have a great year, hopefully he will stay with the Reds
it was evident from the get go that the Reds had no clue how to handle Chapman. Seriously, why would they even contemplate wasting that talent in the bullpen? Idc how high closers/relievers wanna hold themselves, all the evidence shows that even the best relievers only provide as much value to a team as a decent starter over a full season. A stud arm should only go to the bullpen AFTER they try (and fail) as a starter.
Where do you get that they are planning to use him as a reliever? He started his last game and pitched 3 inn. That article loses all credibility if its gonna state that. The Reds have stated they plan to use him as a starter this year, and if he doesn’t make the big league club, they have stated he will likely go to AAA. This has been the plan since the end of last year. The only person who has said he might be put in the bullpen is Dusty, who last time I checked is not the GM and does not decide the final roster. The only reason he said this is because Bray has a minor groin strain. He will likely be fine by the time the season starts, and if not Francis could be an option to replace him. Everything Walt has said since the end of last season indicates that Chappy will start, even if its AAA. That is just bad journalism.
He’s comparing a 92-95 mph average in spring training to his midseason peak of speed of 105mph on a single pitch. 105 is not something he hit regularly. Compare 92-95 to the 98 he averaged last year and consider that high average was when he was coming in to face 1-3 batters, raring back and throwing as hard as he could for one inning.
If Bray is injured and they need another lefty in the pen, a great idea brought up on our blog last week was to leave Chapman in the rotation & have Jeff Francis fill that role.