Aroldis Chapman is going to enter spring training next February as a starter. Should he also emerge as one, there will have to be a limit on the amount of innings that he throws in 2013 because he topped out at 71 2/3 frames as the Reds’ closer in 2012.
But that innings limit won’t be all that strict.
Reds pitching coach Bryan Price told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday afternoon that he will “see where [Chapman] is in terms of innings and pitches after 25 or 30 starts.” Which is basically a full season for most healthy starting pitchers in the major leagues.
“We’ll know a lot more by the time we get to spring training,” Price added. “I don’t think there’s an absolute. You have to have a plan and hope it works. Any time you have a young pitcher and he’s going to surpass his inning total, there’s going to be questions if he gets hurt. We can’t be scared of that.”
Chapman has a dominant 2.33 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 14.1 K/9 in 135 career major-league innings.
The 25-year-old left-hander is under contract with the Reds through the conclusion of the 2015 season.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.