Aroldis Chapman has pitched exclusively in relief this season, but Reds pitching coach Bryan Price told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he still sees him as a starting pitcher in the long-term.
“I can’t guarantee anything because it will be an organizational decision,” Price said. “However, I do think at some point he’s going to have a chance to start. I think it’s something we will definitely be looking at.”
Chapman has a 3.89 ERA and 62/34 K/BB ratio over 41 2/3 innings this season. This includes a 2.36 ERA and 47/12 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings since returning from shoulder fatigue in late-June.
There’s little doubt that Chapman has a chance to be much more valuable as a starting pitcher in the long-term, but the Reds could have a void at closer depending on what they decide to do with Francisco Cordero. He is in the final guaranteed year of a four-year, $46 million contract, which includes a $12 million option for 2012 or a $1 million buyout. Nick Masset once looked like the heir apparent for the ninth inning, but has a disappointing 4.04 ERA and 56/28 K/BB ratio over 62 1/3 innings this season.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.