- Light snow
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - The Reds managed to avoid arbitration again, signing the last of its arbitration-eligible players Homer Bailey to a one-year contract worth a reported $5.3 million dollars on Saturday.
The Reds haven't been to arbitration proceedings with a player since 2004, and it was clear that General Manager Walt Jocketty wanted to avoid it this spring.
Jocketty says he congratulated Bailey on his new deal Saturday and told him the Reds would still like to pursue a longer-term deal. Bailey, speaking later to reporters, seemed open to that prospect that didn't indicate it was a priority.
The 26-year old Bailey has added muscle weight again this season, something that he says was very helpful in 2012 when he won 13 games and threw a September no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bailey's role as a starter has been cemented, not so for the talented and versatile Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman for the second straight spring is being converted into a starting pitcher. That role was changed abruptly in 2012 when projected closer Ryan Madson had arm problems at the start of camp. Chapman promptly saved 38 games, and was an automatic 1-2-3 ninth inning most of the season.
When 2012 ended, Chapman was told he would be switched to starting. Jonathan Broxton was signed to serve was closer.
It's clear however that not everyone is buying in. "This is an organizational decision" said Reds manager Dusty Baker on Saturday morning. "I'm not the whole organization."
General Manager Walt Jocketty had indicated a few weeks ago that some members of the Reds hierarchy disagreed with the move.
Chapman told reporters through interpreter Tomas Vera that he prefers to be a starting pitcher, and has worked more on his changeup and split-fingered fastball during the off-season. He said he would do whatever the club needed him to do.
Chapman's transition will be watched closely in camp and probably debated on an everyday basis. It's an issue that could extend well into the regular season.
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