The Reds are making Aroldis Chapman their closer

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Sean Marshall has surrendered 22 hits and eight earned runs in 14 1/3 innings this year, struggling to solidify the Reds’ ninth-inning role. So changes are being considered at the end of the Cincinnati ‘pen.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds manager Dusty Baker spoke Saturday “about switching Aroldis Chapman into the closer’s role,” and pushing Marshall back into setup duty — something he’s far more familiar with.

“[Chapman] has been so good in the eighth,” Baker told reporters after Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Yankees. “Like I said, you’ve got to graduate to that position. Who knows maybe graduation time is here? We’re got to discuss it, talk about it. Matter of fact, we already talked to him about it. … We had to revamp and come up with a Plan B. So we’ll see about Plan C.”

If Chapman starts locking down saves — which he’s completely capable of — and becomes the Reds’ regular closer, you’d have to think Baker and Co. might just run with with the strategy. Which would, unfortunately, push the 24-year-old Cuban left-hander further away from the rotation spot where he belongs.

Chapman hasn’t allowed an earned run in 17 relief appearances this season and boasts a 38/7 K/BB ratio in 21 1/3 innings. He’s one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball and has experience with starting, and yet the Reds won’t maximize his value. It’s simple math. Justin Verlander has already pitched over 67 innings.

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UPDATE, 11:38 AM: It’s official, according to Fay: Chapman is the Reds’ new closer.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.