Chapman is a good gamble for the Reds

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Thumbnail image for aroldis chapman cuba.jpgJon Heyman tweets his initial reaction to the Cincinnati Reds’ unexpected signing of Aroldis Chapman:

I think the Reds are cracked giving Aroldis Chapman $30 mil. There, I said it.

I disagree. In fact, I think that reaction — and many others like it you’ll see in the next 24 hours — is borne more of shock that a small revenue team like the Reds did the deal instead of one of the usual big name free agent suspects. I’m kind of shocked myself, but just because this is unexpected doesn’t mean it’s “cracked.” Remember, Heyman is the same writer who had no problem throwing around Stephen Strasburg’s alleged $50 million demand last summer. He never said that amount was “cracked.”

Yes, the number — $30 million — seems high, but I have a hard time seeing as a bad move.  It’s six years, with the money stretched out over an even longer period than that according to John Fay at the Cincy Enquirer. He’s young and electric. If he does half of what some people seem to think he can do, he’ll be a steal at that price. Even if he’s a spectacular bust he’ll have cost the Reds $16 million less than Francisco Cordero, $6.5 million less than Aaron Harang and only a tad more than Brandon Phillips. Ed Wade has spent $25 million on Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers and Pedro Feliz this winter. How is this so bad?

I think there are two basic things to keep in mind with this deal: (1) Compared to most other deals in even today’s relatively conservative free agent market, this one has way more upside and a more or less survivable downside; and (2) this transaction means way more to the Reds and their fans than, say, the Angels or Red Sox or even the Blue Jays signing Chapman would. Cincinnati is a great baseball town that risks losing its religion if the team doesn’t do something to give the fans hope, and a potential 2011 rotation of Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Homer Baily and Aroldis Chapman gives fans a lot of reason to hope.

Good move by the Reds. 

Video: Angels use eight pitchers in spring training no-hitter

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Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?

Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.

Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.