Inbox: How long is Chapman controlled?
Reds beat reporter Mark Sheldon fields fans' questions
If Aroldis Chapman makes the Reds rotation to start the year, how does that affect his contract?
-- @Jeffdraeger34, via Twitter
-- @ewl115, via Twitter I'd have to go with 2009 first-round Draft pick Mike Leake. I knew the right-hander was talented, but I didn't expect him to handle hitters as well as he has. This is not only his first big league Spring Training, but it's his first Spring Training, period. If not for Chapman, a lot more buzz would center on this guy this spring. If a spot were to open on the rotation this season, and he keeps performing well, I envision him being on the short list of candidates. I'd also note that tall righty Logan Ondrusek has also been very impressive. Is it really the right thing to leave Brandon Phillips in the four-hole in the lineup? Isn't he more of a No. 2 guy in reality?
-- @BaronBoss, via Twitter I get this question a lot, too. Phillips isn't the stereotypical cleanup hitter, but he's the best choice the Reds have. He can hit for power and drive in runs and can hit both righties and lefties. He had 98 RBIs last season and 94 RBIs and 30 homers in 2008. Dusty Baker also made a great point earlier in camp that hitting Phillips fourth ahead of Scott Rolen could mean better pitches for Rolen since Phillips has good speed. Phillips' style of hitting doesn't lend as well to the No. 2 spot, nor did the 21 double plays he grounded into last season.
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When do we start worrying about Joey Votto and Phillips?
-- @jacobs_jeff, via Twitter
-- Annie, Ft. Thomas, Ky. Francisco is a third baseman normally, but the club wants to see if he can handle left field, too. With his power bat, it'd be a way to get him into the Majors since Rolen is obviously locked in at third for the next three seasons. With Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo in the last year of their contracts and a bunch of talented young pitchers in the waiting, do you think that the Reds will try to bring one or both back for 2011 to provide a veteran presence in the rotation? If the Reds don't, the potential candidates for the 2011 rotation will be pretty young with Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Edinson Volquez, Chapman, Leake, Travis Wood, Matt Maloney, etc.
-- Jon, Honolulu, Hawaii There's enough to think about with 2010, let alone 2011. Both Harang and Arroyo have club options for next season. Harang's is worth $12.75 million, and Arroyo's is worth $11 million. Both have $2 million buyouts. But the potential depth the Reds seem to have in the rotation down the road could give them the some flexibility. Much will depend on the performances this season of Bailey, Cueto and Chapman, and the health of Volquez. Do you think the Reds would (or should) keep pitcher Micah Owings as primarily a pinch-hitter and occasional long reliever? They kept a third catcher in Javier Valentin as a pinch-hitter at one time.
-- Terry R., Tell City, Ind. If Owings makes the team as either a starter or reliever, it will be primarily because of his arm and his pitching performance. But his ability to hit will be a factor because he can stretch the bench and preserve the bullpen by hitting for himself. If Owings is vying for the final bullpen spot, he has a disadvantage against Mike Lincoln. Owings has Minor League options left, and Lincoln is owed $2 million this season and has no options.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.