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Saying Goodbye to the Aroldis Chapman Era

The end of five good years

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Aroldis Chapman was signed on January 11, 2010. For five really fun years, the Reds had a treasure. Not the Crown Jewels or anything, but a bright shiny thing that everyone else in the league coveted. It was a really fun five years — even the tragedies small (2013's Chris Denorfia walkoff homer) and large (actual violence) had more meaning because this great big flawed lefty made his home in Cincinnati.

And now, he's not there. The years of Chapman have come to a close, and it's hard to see it any other way than a bummer shame. All we got was 319 innings and a dude named Rookie Davis.

There will always be the nagging question of whether the Reds could've done more. Shouldn't the Left Arm of God put in a few more IP than Sam LeCure? Of course! It's entirely too agonizing and probably too expected to wonder how the Reds had their most successful five-year run since the 1980s if not the Big Red Machine itself could've actually won a pennant. Aroldis Chapman pitched 4.2 postseason innings. LeCure: 5 on the dot.

Five years is a very long time in baseball terms. The second batter Chapman faced was Craig Counsell. Juan Francisco came in to pinch-hit for Aroldis to lead off the ninth. The last batter Chapman faced as a Red was the Pirates' Francisco Cervelli, who lined out to a gentleman my sources tell me was named Tyler Holt. For what it's worth, the box scores I remember best from Chapman's era were the ones he wasn't in: the final four games of the 2013 season that the Reds lost to Pittsburgh in which Homer Bailey, Alfredo Simon, Logan Ondrusek, J.J. Hoover, Bronson Arroyo, Sean Marshall, Zach Duke, Sam LeCure, Manny Parra, Greg Reynolds, Curtis Partch, Nick Christiani, and Johnny Cueto all pitched. And Aroldis Chapman did not.

It is difficult to call the Aroldis Chapman Era "squandered" since the Reds did manage to win 90 games in three different years — something they hadn't done since the '70s. But it is also difficult to call the 2010s a rousing success, at least so far. So let's stick with "memorable." The Aroldis Chapman Era featured the fastest pitches ever thrown, tossed by a lefty wearing red. It featured absolutely lurid headlines, at least by baseball standards. There was undeniable squickiness, swept hastily under the rug by one Rob Butcher time and time again. Three playoff appearances, three somersaults, two playoff wins, and one memorable lefty.

And now, it's the turn of one Rookie Davis.