To baseball at large, the Cincinnati Reds' decision to move left-hander Aroldis Chapman from closer to starter is greatly debated. Apparently, that's the case in the team's offices as well.
"This is an organizational decision," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm not the whole organization. I'm one that has to speak about it."
Baker may or may not be on board, but the organization has decided that Chapman, a 25-year-old Cuban left-hander, will prepare as a starter. It is the same plan as last year. Chapman pitched at as a starter during spring training and pitched well. He was 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in four starts, striking out 18 and walking two in 17 innings.
Chapman was moved to the bullpen when closer Ryan Madson got hurt, and Chapman eventually became the closer. He saved 38 games and had a 1.51 ERA, struck out 122 and walked 23 in 71 2/3 innings.
"It's the same as last year," Baker said. "We started him out as a starter. Then Madson went down. We had no clue (Chapman) was going to be that good as a closer. I don't think anybody did. We didn't know if he'd throw enough strikes. We put him in the setup role because he had been groomed to be a starter out of spring training. That helped him get his control.
"Right now, we're in the same boat. We're trying to get him multiple innings. ... It's kind of tough (to move Chapman) when you've got a shut-down bullpen with the way you had guys lined up."
The Reds' rotation was very good last year, too. Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey all surpassed 200 innings and won at least 12 games. The fifth starter, Mike Leake, went 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA and threw 179 innings.
Chapman is in the running to start, but he could end up in the bullpen.
"He is coming to camp as he did last year," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "We'll see how things are in the spring, see how things shake out in camp and make an adjustment at the end of camp."