New Reds manager Bryan Price, who was formally named the organization’s skipper three days after their Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh, initially wouldn’t commit to keeping Chapman (4-5, 2.54 ERA) in the bullpen next season.
However, Price and general manager Walt Jocketty have since agreed that Chapman’s a closer.
“I am preparing myself as every offseason, getting myself ready to close,” said Chapman, 25, a Cuban defector who signed a six-year contract worth $30.25 million in January 2010. “Starting hasn’t even crossed my mind and I’m not going to do it either.”
Chapman, who once gunned the fastest recorded pitch in MLB history at 105.1 mph, converted 38 saves in 43 opportunities during the 2013 campaign.
The blazing southpaw is one of baseball’s most intimidating men on the hill and he gives Cincinnati an indispensable weapon that few squads have.
Tall, lanky and athletic, the 6-foot-4, 200 pound Chapman only employs a heater and slider.
With a dearth of pitches, Dusty Baker perfectly used the “Cuban Missile” and Chapman obviously relishes his current role.
Already blessed with a solid starting rotation, Price and Jocketty surely considered Joba Chamberlain’s plight before telling Chapman to get “ready to close.”
As a stopper in “The Queen City,” Aroldis Chapman can help the Reds become kings and eventually cement their sixth World Series title.by