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Cincinnati Reds Baseball: Chapman Wants to Be a 'Closer for Life'

May 19, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies in the ninth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Reds, 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle KauffungContributor IIIJune 24, 2013

During spring training, the Cincinnati Reds wanted Aroldis Chapman to compete for the fifth starting pitcher’s spot. Chapman, however, said that he wanted to remain a closer.

He got his wish, and according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, he wants to stay in that role.

"I want to be a closer for life," Chapman said. "I don't know what can happen in the future, but for now, my mentality is that of a closer."

He has had some bad outings as a closer here and there, including Saturday’s blown save against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chapman gave up a single and walked two batters to load the bases before giving up a game-winning, two-run single.

Nevertheless, I think this is the right move for Chapman. He will likely stay a closer because it’s what he wants and he has the confidence and right mindset for it.

“I definitely don't panic, whether it's three or four bad outings,” Chapman said. “I've had a few bad outings, but my confidence is not going anywhere.”

That isn't to say he wouldn't make a solid starter. But there doesn't seem to be much reasoning in changing his role when he says he wants to stay in his current one.

Chapman is gaining a reputation for his high-and-inside fastballs, but he says that it’s part of his strategy and that he’s not trying to hit anyone.

“For a fastball pitcher like me, it's good to throw high pitches, and then come back with a backdoor slider,” Chapman said. “People misinterpret that, and a lot of players see it as bad, but it's not my intention to hit anyone.” 

His pitches seem to be a little wild sometimes, but his numbers are solid and he is comfortable in his role, which is something that will make him better the longer he's a closer.

Chapman is 3-3 with a 2.73 ERA and has 19 saves in 22 save opportunities this season. He has 56 strikeouts in 33 innings and batters are hitting .185 against him.

He has 58 saves in 69 save opportunities in his career.

Things could always change in the future. But for now, Chapman seems comfortable in his role as a closer.

Since he wants to stay there and he is their best option, the Reds should let him.

 

All stats courtesy of MLB.com

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