It was one of the most controversial questions moving into the 2013 season, and with the new manger Bryan Price at the helm, it might resurface.
Price was immediately asked about Chapman’s role on his formal introduction and would only agree that he believes pitchers get better with secondary pitches by throwing innings (per Chicago Tribune).
There’s one thing that is certain entering next season, and that is the fact the Reds don’t have a lot of money to spend on free agents. This should be nothing new to Reds fans, but one realistic move that could save the club money is moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation.
With a rotation consisting Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani and Chapman, there can be wiggle room to trade one of their starting pitchers.
MLBTradeRumors.com recently reported that the Los Angeles Angels are open to moving Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo for starting pitching. While it might not be in the Reds best interests to quickly trade one of their quality pitchers, this could be a trend entering the offseason.
The Reds are going to have their best luck filling the roster holes with a trade, and if Chapman can be a rotation guy, there’s room to move someone else.
While Chapman still had a great year at the closer position, his numbers were not as solid as 2012. Chapman gave up more earned runs, runs, home runs, hits and walks this season, which should be noted since closers typically have short shelf lives.
Chapman is still young, and his numbers show he could be used in the rotation. Hitters were a little more cautious this year, as his strikes-swinging percentage went down three percent and his strikes-looking percentage went up the same amount.
However, Chapman’s total strike percentage increased again in 2013. According to FanGraphs.com, Chapman did decrease his use of his changeup from 6.5 percent to 2.7, but his slider usage increased 3.2 percent and his fastballs only gained one percent.
Moving J.J. Hoover to the closer's role will let the Reds afford to test Chapman in the rotation. More importantly, it will give the Reds a surplus of young pitchers, which might be the game's hottest commodity.