100-mph, 102-mph, 101-mph, 103-mph. Grab some pine, meat.
These numbers are exactly what San Francisco Giants fans will come to expect from closer Aroldis Chapman if Brian Sabean and co. decide to pursue the four-time All Star. Without a doubt, Sabean is known for being hesitant when bringing in rental players with high price tags. On the other hand, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen is currently seventh in the National League with a 3.36 —that’s not gonna cut it.
According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the asking price for the Cincinnati Reds flame thrower is “exorbitant.”
This should be expected for the fastest pitcher to reach 500 strikeouts in MLB history. Nevertheless, this trade may be necessary in order for the Giants to defend their World Series title.
Don’t get me wrong—Santiago Casilla has done a solid job for the Giants as their closer for the past year and a half. In fact, Casilla is sixth in the NL this year with 26 saves, and was dominant in the 2014 postseason. But let’s take a closer look at Casilla’s performance. Along with blowing four saves out of 30 opportunities, Casilla has battled through shoulder fatigue. In response to the obvious struggles from his closer, Bochy said, “He didn’t look like the same Casilla tonight. His stuff was down.”
Now, let’s look at Chapman.
The Cuban flamethrower has a respectable 20 saves for the struggling Reds, yet he has blown just one of his 21 save opportunities. Chapman has a microscopic ERA of 1.73, has surrendered just one home run all season, and has fanned 74 hitters in just 41.2 innings pitched, which is second among qualified MLB relievers (40 innings pitched). To top it all off, Chapman has been placed on the DL just one time during his six years in The Show and is under contract through the 2016 season.
In a nutshell: the man throws hard, the man is reliable, and most importantly, the man executes.
What would the defending champs have to do to bring him in?
On the downside:
1. They would have to give up some prospects, possibly parting ways with Andrew Susac and a first-round draft pick (or two) in total. That hurts.
On the upside:
1. San Francisco gets a shutdown closer.
2. Casilla moves into a setup role in the 8th inning, turning the struggling Sergio Romo, who has the highest ERA of his career (4.40), into a right-handed specialist.
3. That leaves Romo, Javier Lopez, George Kontos, and Hunter Strickland for the 6th-7th inning duties, allowing Bruce Bochy to use righty-on-righty and lefty-on-lefty match-ups.
4. Most importantly, the confidence and assurance of the Giants bullpen allows the starting pitchers to throw with the goal of pitching six innings instead of having to throw deep into games night in and night out. Although it’s hard to see now, and we often take them for granted, the amount of postseason innings thrown in the past three World Series title runs by the veteran staff has to be a concern when it comes to longevity.
“In a nutshell: the man throws hard, the man is reliable, and most importantly, the man executes.”
Similar to the Kansas City Royals’ three-headed monster in 2014 of Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, and Greg Holland, Aroldis Chapman would give the San Francisco Giants pitching staff less stress and more promise. If you are pessimistic on whether or not Chapman is worth the price tag, picture this: Madison Bumgarner pitches six strong innings, giving way to Romo and Lopez in the 7th. A healthy Santiago Casilla does his job in the 8th, and one, two, and three outs (and a whole lot of miles per hour) later, Chapman closes the door in the ninth.
Aroldis Chapman is not necessarily a must for San Francisco, but he is certainly worth the cost.