Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
The Cincinnati Reds are looking to acquire a new closer to replace Aroldis Chapman, whom they would like to move into the starting rotation.
The Cincinnati Reds are not satisfied with Aroldis Chapman as their closer, and would like to replace him, reports Jon Heyman. Of course, this dissatisfaction isn't because Chapman has struggled with the role — quite the contrary, actually. It is because he pitched so dominantly while collecting saves for the Reds this season that they would like to see if he can keep it up as a starter.
Chapman had a historic season in the Reds' bullpen in 2012, posting a miniscule 1.51 ERA while striking out over 15 batters per nine innings. He collected 38 saves, even though he did not take over as the team's closer until the end of May. He surrendered only five total earned runs to National League teams over the entire season. The Reds are hopeful that this success, or at least a semblance of it, will translate to the starting rotation.
Heyman reports that the Reds are focusing on Ryan Madson, Jonathan Broxton and Joakim Soria as potential candidates. Madson was signed by the Reds before the 2012 season to be the team's closer, but injured his elbow and had Tommy John surgery during Spring Training. He reportedly will be healthy and ready to go to begin the 2013 season.
Broxton was traded to the Reds at the July trade deadline from the Kansas City Royals. He bounced back from an injury-shortened 2011 season to post a 2.48 ERA between the two teams. He saved 23 games for the Royals, and also served as the Reds' closer when Chapman was sidelined in September with shoulder fatigue.
Soria, much the same as Madson, was injured in Spring Training and missed the season rehabbing from surgery.
There is mutual interest between the Reds and both Madson and Broxton, so perhaps something will get worked out. If they cannot find a suitable candidate to fill the closer's role though, they may opt to keep Chapman there.