Reds still haven’t decided whether Aroldis Chapman will start or close

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Aroldis Chapman is preparing as if he’ll move into the starting rotation this season following two-plus years in the bullpen, but the Reds still haven’t made a final decision on his role.

“I’d like to decide soon and get my team together,” manager Dusty Baker said, via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t like having guys in the middle. That’s a bad situation when you’re in the middle of anything. An unknown. Then everybody else is in an unknown situation.”

Baker noted that Chapman went through something similar last spring before eventually moving into the closer role and saving 38 games with a 1.51 ERA.

As for who, exactly, will be making the final decision on Chapman? Baker says “the decision is not only mine, it’s ours … but I got my opinion.” And if the manager gets his way Chapman will remain the Reds’ closer.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.