OK, so maybe it isn't officially official—yet anyway. But let's be honest here, Aroldis Chapman is going to start. The signing of Jonathan Broxton for $21 million over three years, as reported by Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, is a clear indication of the Cincinnati Reds' intentions.
Teams do not just sign middle relievers to that kind of money; teams do sign closers to such deals.
So, moving forward, we will assume that Aroldis Chapman will be in the Cincinnati Reds' 2013 starting rotation. After all, why shouldn't he? Jon Heyman of CBS Sports seems to think so.
Now comes the time to ease some fans' anxiety about the move. Yes, Chapman was one heck of a closer in 2012—he can also be one heck of a starter in 2013.
Let's get one thing straight before we continue—starters are more valuable than closers. Close the book, end of story. Reality is, closers are a dime a dozen. Don't believe me?
Tell me you knew who Jim Johnson (51 saves), Fernando Rodney (48 saves), Addison Reed (29 saves), Tom Wihelmsen (29 saves), Santiago Casilla (25 Saves), Ernesto Frieri (23 saves) and Casey Janssen (22 saves) were before this year? Most fans couldn't even state which team each person saved those games for.
The same list can be drawn up year after year. Why? Because closers are a dime a dozen. Nearly all teams have players that are closer material; they just need to evaluate and locate them.
Lets discuss why Aroldis Chapman is going to become a phenomenal starter—a.k.a. an ace.
Before breaking into the big leagues, Chapman had always been a starter. It isn't like he has never done it before. He has. He was good at it too. Obviously so good at it that it earned him an immediate six-year/$30.25 million contract before ever throwing a pitch in the majors.
How soon people forget that success. How soon people forget that Aroldis Chapman was the best starter for Cincinnati during spring training. His 2.12 ERA over four starts trumped all other starters.
Aroldis Chapman boasts three pitches. His fastball is well, self-explanatory. MLB's top fastball. Not many pitchers can claim that their slider slides from behind the batter and sweeps clear across the plate at 88-91 mph—that just isn't fair.
Then there is his changeup. Let's just say it is coming along. He hasn't been given enough opportunity to work on it in game situations. But when you have two pitches as dominant as the others, all you need is to be average with the third one.
What seems to be the concern of most fans, though, is fatigue. To be honest, it has been way overplayed and overstated.
How could he ever throw 150 to 200 innings after being a reliever? OMG, there is no way he could ever hold up to that. Come on, really people. Stop the nonsensical chatter. Let me throw some names and numbers at you:
Matt Harrison: 78.1 IP in 2010 as a reliever to 185.2 IP in 2011 as a starter
C.J. Wilson: five straight years of reliever innings to three consecutive years of 200-plus innings
Adam Wainwright: 75 IP in 2006 as a reliever to 202 IP in 2007 as a starter
Chris Sale: 71 IP in 2011 as a reliever to 192 IP in 2012 as a starter
Ryan Dempster: went from starter, to closer for four years, back to starter
The list keeps going, folks. The call goes out to all: Let's end this nonsense once and for all and move forward—agreed?
Aroldis Chapman is going to start in 2013. We all know this in our hearts; let's start enjoying it now. Adding another starter with ace-like stuff to your rotation should be cause for celebration. He may not throw 200 innings, but neither did Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos or Homer Bailey until this 2012. Yet they all contributed mightily as starters in previous years.
Celebrate Reds fans, celebrate.
You can follow Josh Ramsey on Twitter @JRamCincy