CINCINNATI — I don’t think we saw the end of the conventional closer in the World Series, but I think we saw a shift.
Who would you rather have for 2017: Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller?
I think every general manager in baseball would take Miller at this point. He was on his way to MVP of the series before he had his first rough outing.
In fairness to Chapman, he was asked to do too much and that led to a blown save in Game 7. He threw 42, 20 and 30 pitches over a four-day span. It clearly caught up to him. The Cubs did not prepare him for such workload. He had three outings of more than one inning in the entire regular season — two after the trade. He only went 30 pitches once after the trade.
The Indians clearly got Miller ready for his postseason workload after they obtained him in the trade. He made only two multiple-inning appearances for the Yankees. He made seven for the Indians — all after Aug. 14.
Chapman is capable of such a load if he’s conditioned for it. He is a free agent.
The first question I’d ask him on the visit if I were a GM is: Are you willing to go more than an inning late in the season to get ready for October?
I’m not sure what Chapman’s answer would be. I know after the Reds' experimentation with starting, he wanted strictly to close. At Redfest three years ago, my sports editor interviewed him in Spanish and asked about starting. His answer (I’m paraphrasing a bit here): I’m sick of this (stuff). I’m a closer.
Chapman was always an enigma to cover because of the language barrier. The most surprising thing to me last night was not that he struggled; it was joy he showed after the Cubs pulled it out. I don’t think I ever saw him that happy in his time with the Reds, and he was much of a team guy.
Speaking of the Reds, the series should have reaffirmed what they were thinking with Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen, i.e., they should keep them in the hybrid role.
Neither has the stuff of Chapman or Miller, but the Reds can get a lot more out of them if they don’t anoint one a closer.
That’s where they went wrong with Chapman.
John Fay is a freelance sports columnist. This column represents his opinion.