Stopped before he starts: Aroldis Chapman is staying in the Reds’ bullpen

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Aroldis Chapman spent all offseason and the first month of spring training preparing for a potential move to the rotation, but with Opening Day right around the corner the Reds have decided to keep the flame-throwing left-hander in the bullpen.

Ryan Madson undergoing season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery likely played a part in the decision, as did the Reds having plenty of rotation depth beyond Chapman, but manager Dusty Baker also told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that “Bill Bray isn’t ready to be late-inning lefty right now.”

That seems debatable at best considering Bray has a 3.40 ERA and 74/27 K/BB ratio in 77 innings during the past two seasons, with the raw stuff to match, and has held opponents to a .201 batting average during that time. If healthy Bray could certainly serve as the primary lefty setup man in front of lefty closer Sean Marshall.

Of course, that doesn’t mean keeping Chapman in the bullpen is the wrong move. In theory giving a young pitcher every opportunity to show that he can handle a 200-inning starting role before relegating him to a 65-inning bullpen role makes all kinds of sense, but Chapman’s control problems provide plenty of reason to be skeptical that he could thrive as a starter. Still, the waffling on his role after rushing him to the majors isn’t helping Chapman’s development any.

Dustin Pedroia suffers a “significant setback” in his recovery

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Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has suffered “a significant setback” with his left knee, making his availability for spring training questionable. Abraham says that Pedroia is “discussing his options with his family, agents, and the Sox.”

Pedroia underwent “knee joint preservation” surgery last year, which is often used as an alternative to full knee replacement. As it was, he played in only three games in 2018 and appeared in just six games in 2019, accruing just three hits in 34 plate appearances.

In light of the severity of his injury, the severity of his surgery and all of the time he’s missed over the past few years, it was already something of a long shot for Pedroia play again as it was. Indeed, he himself was not even sure if he’d play again when asked at one point last season. But this sounds positively dire.