If you trust the Cubans and their book keeping, Aroldis Chapman turns 25 years old today. It's easy to forget how young some of these guys are. While this team feels like a veteran bunch, the truth is the vast majority of the "core" players are still in their mid-20s.
Risky, but worth it - Speaking of Chapman... Jay Jaffe echoes what many of us have been saying for months: moving Aroldis to the rotation might not work out, but the possible reward is well worth the risk. Jaffe points to the volume of innings a starter provides compared to a reliever.
- Cueto wasn't so sharp yesterday - Johnny threw 2 innings and gave up 4 runs (2 earned). On the bright side, "Here Comes" Yorman Rodriguez went 2-for-2 at the plate with 3 RBI and a home run.
- Votto faces a tough decision on WBC - Being the thoughtful individual that he is, Joey Votto is taking his time to decide whether or not he'll participate in the World Baseball Classic.
- Joey Votto: Face of MLB? - At this moment, Votto leads Matt Kemp (67% to 33%) for the "Face of MLB" promotion. The whole thing is silly really, but it's still pretty cool that Votto is likely to win this thing. Reds fans on twitter helped to vote Votto to victories over Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Jose Bautista, and Andrew McCutchen.
Fangraphs brings two worlds together - "The 20-80 Scale, Saber Style." They use Votto as their example of a hitter who would rank as an 80 for wOBA.
Baseball Prospectus doesn't like the signing of Broxton - They rank the Jonathan Broxton signing as one the 12 worst off-season moves in baseball. Here's why:
9. The Reds Give Jonathan Broxton a Three-Year Deal
Three years and $21 million for Jonathan Broxton. I had to shake my head. By this point, the reader will probably be quite familiar with the reason that giving a bunch of money to a "proven closer" is a bad idea. And it is, especially given that Broxton, while he saved 27 games with a 2.48 ERA last year, did so with a high LOB% (79.2 percent) and a low HR/FB ratio (4.9 percent), which masked that his strikeout rate has fallen by 3.5 per nine innings(!!!) in the space of a year. Broxton is due to regress, and even if you buy that his performance over the past year was legitimate, there's nothing in his recent performance that screams "good investment." Actually, I worry about this signing for what will eventually happen in Cincinnati because of it.
Broxton theoretically takes over the closer role from Aroldis Chapman, who will join the Reds' starting rotation. If Broxton falters a couple of times (and even the really good closers do that), there will be calls for Chapman to be reinstated as closer, because blowing a two-run lead in the ninth feels awful. Beware the moment when someone says this: "A decent starter is easier to find than a good closer." It's the sin of false equivalence. In fact, there are more decent starters around than good closers, primarily because there are five starters to a team and only one closer. But even if Chapman turns out to just be a decent starter, he's more valuable in that role than as a good closer. Baseball is a game of attrition, and getting seven pretty good innings is much more valuable than getting one really good frame. Still, the Reds might give into that pressure. If they're going to do that anyway, why pay some guy $7 million to take the fall when they could have gotten someone else to do it for a cool million? —Russell A. Carleton