The Aroldis-Chapman-to-the-bullpen experiment is not going so well

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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.

Padres sign Aaron Loup to a one-year deal

Aaron Loup
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Free agent lefty reliever Aaron Loup has been given a locker in the Padres’ clubhouse, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reported Sunday. Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Loup received a one-year MLB deal with a club option for 2020. The Padres will shift right-hander Garrett Richards to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 31, began the 2018 season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Phillies for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack at the midseason deadline. The veteran left-hander pitched just two innings in Philadelphia before hitting the injured list with a forearm strain and returned for a handful of appearances at the end of the year, bringing him up to a 4.54 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 10.0 SO/9, and 0.3 fWAR across 39 2/3 combined innings.

Assuming health issues don’t complicate his next campaign in San Diego, Loup will be added to the bullpen alongside fellow left-handers Matt Strahm and José Castillo (with the possible late addition of southpaw reliever Brad Wieck, who underwent surgery for testicular cancer earlier this year). There are worse places to be — according to FanGraphs, the Padres’ ‘pen jumped from second-worst in 2017 to second-best in the league with a cumulative 3.53 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 8.7 fWAR in 2018.