In what has become an annual tradition, rumors have begun to swirl suggesting Reds closer Aroldis Chapman could move into the starting rotation. The lefty has ranked among baseball’s top-five relievers over each of the past two seasons, but he would theoretically provide more value in the rotation. Neither the team nor Chapman is interested in such a move, however.
Via C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“Aside from that, I’m tired of every year the same thing about me either starting or closing,” Chapman told The Enquirer in Spanish, without an interpreter. “What I have in mind is closing games and that’s it.”
“I am preparing myself as every offseason, getting myself ready to close,” Chapman said. “Starting hasn’t even crossed my mind and I’m not going to do it either.”
Chapman said nobody’s talked to him about starting and he doesn’t see it as a transition he can make.
“I don’t want to — and it’s difficult that I’d do it,” Chapman said.
Chapman finished the 2013 season with the highest strikeout rate among qualified relievers at 43.4 percent, well above second-place Greg Holland’s 40.4 percent. He also posted a 2.54 ERA, averaged nearly four strikeouts for every one walk, and tied for the eighth-most saves in baseball with 38.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.