Because the let’s-take-a-young-starter-and-turn-him-into-a-reliever trend is one of the latest windmills at which I like to tilt, I got all upset last month when the Reds said that they were converting Aroldis Chapman into a relief pitcher.
Maybe I won’t need to worry about it, though, because John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that — early progress notwithstanding — the experiment is not going so well. Chapman is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA since the move to bullpen. According to Fay, three of his seven
outings have been “ugly.” At the same time, the Reds’ bullpen has become less of a concern than it was a month ago. Yes, they could use an arm, but not one that has to learn on the job like Chapman.
So, the most important thing to watch as far as Chapman goes these days is not when he’ll be called up to the big club, but when the big club will let him go back to being a starter so he can develop like a proper young studly prospect should.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.