The Reds make it official: Aroldis Chapman will be the closer

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This was reported yesterday, but today the Reds officially announced it: Aroldis Chapman will be the closer.

Walt Jocketty made the announcement at Reds camp today. He added that Jonathan Broxton will be the setup man and Mike Leake is in the rotation.  He added that he had not, contrary to popular opinion, been pushing for Chapman to be in the rotation.  This provides some support to Dusty Baker who, likely in keeping with popular opinion, wants to keep Chapman in the pen.

All in all: not the biggest deal in the world. As a matter of principle we should all want good pitchers being tested as starters unless or until it is shown that they can’t do it, simply because 170 innings of good starting is worth way more than 60 innings of great relief.  But in this particular case — a team with a pretty solid rotation as it is — it’s probably not gonna make the biggest difference on the planet. At least not now.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?