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Sunday, June 17, 2012

NY Times: In Chapman, the Reds Have a Lights-Out Closer, for Now

A sign in Dusty Baker’s office in Cincinnati best explains the organization’s anxiety over Chapman: “The most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen. Not necessarily in that order.”

Maybe only a talent like Chapman could make Baker violate his baseball morals. Sitting in the visiting manager’s office at Citi Field, Baker remembered the last time he made a decision like the one that he will someday have to make with Chapman. In 1993, in his first season managing the San Francisco Giants, he had to decide where he would pitch Billy Swift, who had experience as a reliever and a starter.

“The problem was, potentially he can be your best reliever and your best starter at the same time,” Baker said. “There aren’t many guys around like that. So we decided to start Billy,” and Swift won 21 games that season.

bobm Posted: June 17, 2012 at 02:42 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bullpen, reds

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: June 17, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4159356)
“The problem was, potentially he can be your best reliever and your best starter at the same time,”


I think many aces could probably be a team's best reliever if they were so deployed.
   2. joker24 Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4159378)
I'd say virtually every "ace" would instantly be a top 2-3 reliever in baseball when you get to pick up 2-3 mph. Strasburg's line in relief would be funny.

Kimbrel probably is the only reliever who I can think of who couldn't start, but is also as good as possible as a reliever.
   3. rlc Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:20 PM (#4159380)
I'd say virtually every "ace" would instantly be a top 2-3 reliever in baseball


Either there are only 2-3 "aces" in baseball, or they're all from Lake Wobegon...
   4. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4159384)
Either there are only 2-3 "aces" in baseball, or they're all from Lake Wobegon...

Compared to the rest of the relief pitching field, any ace starter would instantly be better.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4159627)
Anyone else notice that despite the big hoopla over Mariano Rivera going down, Soriano has saved 12 of 13 games with an ERA of 1.85? The only Yankee reliever doing poorly is Freddy Garcia.
   6. zack Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:24 AM (#4159722)
In 1993, in his first season managing the San Francisco Giants, he had to decide where he would pitch Billy Swift, who had experience as a reliever and a starter.


Which kind of side-steps the fact that Swift was the Giants opening day starter in 1992 and led the league in ERA...

He did spend September '92 in the bullpen, why?
   7. PreservedFish Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:42 AM (#4159726)
Compared to the rest of the relief pitching field, any ace starter would instantly be better.


I don't know if that's always true. The two roles seem to emphasize different talents (even though it's contrary to the way my brain insists it ought to be). Some players are particularly suited to starting, others to relieving.
   8. RollingWave Posted: June 18, 2012 at 03:15 AM (#4159735)
Anyone else notice that despite the big hoopla over Mariano Rivera going down, Soriano has saved 12 of 13 games with an ERA of 1.85? The only Yankee reliever doing poorly is Freddy Garcia.


Freddy Garcia as a reliever in 2012

13 innings, 1.38 ERA, 7K/3BB 1.0 WHIP .547 OPS against.

he's actually doing great as a reliever, he was knocked around at the start of the season when he started 4 games where he managed to cough up 19(!!) runs in just 13.2 IP. he's been basically lights out since he was moved.

meanwhile, Soriano's been much better than last year result wise but his 1.48 WHIP still makes for a lot of scary outtings (and is actually worse than last year but a good margin)


   9. Dan Lee tips his cap respectfully to JackVincennes Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:04 AM (#4159736)
He did spend September '92 in the bullpen, why?
Shoulder issues. It was reported in 1994 that the issue was cleared up after he changed his weightlifting routine, but the shoulder was scragged by 1996.
   10. Dan Lee tips his cap respectfully to JackVincennes Posted: June 18, 2012 at 04:18 AM (#4159737)
In 1993, in his first season managing the San Francisco Giants...
Speaking of the '93 Giants, their pitching staff is like a who's who of guys you don't remember playing for San Francisco. Bud Black, Dave Burba, Scott Sanderson, Dave Righetti, Jim Deshaies.

I guess I remember a few of those guys being Giants, but it's not like you think "Bud Black! He used to be a Giant!" unless you're a San Francisco diehard.
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 07:42 AM (#4159745)
he's actually doing great as a reliever, he was knocked around at the start of the season when he started 4 games where he managed to cough up 19(!!) runs in just 13.2 IP. he's been basically lights out since he was moved.


Thanks; I didn't realize that. It makes my point even better.

meanwhile, Soriano's been much better than last year result wise but his 1.48 WHIP still makes for a lot of scary outtings (and is actually worse than last year but a good margin)


And that also helps make my point about the loss of Rivera: save opportunities are mostly converted into saves even with scary outings.
   12. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 18, 2012 at 07:54 AM (#4159747)
Speaking of the '93 Giants, their pitching staff is like a who's who of guys you don't remember playing for San Francisco. Bud Black, Dave Burba, Scott Sanderson, Dave Righetti, Jim Deshaies.

I guess I remember a few of those guys being Giants, but it's not like you think "Bud Black! He used to be a Giant!" unless you're a San Francisco diehard.


Righetti's jump to the Giants was a big deal at the time, and he's been the pitching coach there for over a decade, so he's pretty much as memorable as a Giant as he was as a Yankee. Black went to the Giants when he was still good. Though maybe it's just that as a Braves fan at the time I was acutely aware of all of those guys. It was a cobbled-together staff that pitched really well and almost made it through the full season throwing as well as anyone outside of Atlanta.

The '93 Giants also show the impact of the jump in hitting levels that was going on at the time. In 1992, they finished 9th in the league in pitching, with an ERA+ of 93 and an ERA of 3.61. In 1993 they were 5th a with an ERA+ of 108 and an ERA of... 3.61.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 18, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4159774)
I remember Black as a Giant because he signed a huge contract despite having been a pretty mediocre lefty, and IIRC, he was quite a FA bust. Plus he made up part of the "Black and Decker" battery.
   14. JustDan Posted: June 18, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4159806)
I know some starters take a long time to warm up and therefore could pose problems when managing a bullpen. A skill some relievers have is being able to get ready fast, giving the manager some flexibility.
   15. Jeff R. Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4159857)
I remember Black as a Giant because he signed a huge contract despite having been a pretty mediocre lefty, and IIRC, he was quite a FA bust. Plus he made up part of the "Black and Decker" battery.


Yeah, that was when pitching contracts just went crazy. Didn't Matt Young sign with Boston around then, after going 8-18 with the M's?
   16. RJ in TO Posted: June 18, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4159862)
Didn't Matt Young sign with Boston around then, after going 8-18 with the M's?

To be fair, he had a 3.51 ERA (112 ERA+) over 225 innings with that 8-18 record.

Of course, the idea of putting a lefty with control issues in Fenway probably wasn't a good one.
   17. JJ1986 Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4159998)
I know some starters take a long time to warm up and therefore could pose problems when managing a bullpen. A skill some relievers have is being able to get ready fast, giving the manager some flexibility.


And some starters, like Tom Glavine, suck in their first inning.
   18. Lassus Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4160003)
And some starters, like Tom Glavine, suck in their first inning.

Ugh.
   19. TDF, situational idiot Posted: June 18, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4160032)
I know some starters take a long time to warm up and therefore could pose problems when managing a bullpen. A skill some relievers have is being able to get ready fast, giving the manager some flexibility.
During spring training, when the Reds had a few actual live bodies in the bullpen and Chapman was tearing it up as a starter, the blogs were alive with the question of who the odd man out would be w/r/t the rotation and it was brought up that Homer Bailey couldn't work out of the pen because he takes so long to warm up.

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