CINCINNATI -- Something that was expected as the 2011 season came to an end is on the verge of becoming reality. The Reds are now definitely preparing left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman to be a starter in 2012.
Chapman made all 54 appearances this season out of the bullpen and posted a 3.60 ERA, with 41 walks and 71 strikeouts, in 70 innings.
"That was the plan all along -- give him one more year in the bullpen and then stretch him out to [start]," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said.
Chapman will head to Goodyear, Ariz., on Friday for the Reds' instructional league camp.
"He'll build up his innings down there," Jocketty said.
The Reds pulled a coup in January 2010, when they signed the Cuban defector to a six-year, $30 million free-agent contract. He began that season as a starter for Triple-A Louisville, but moved to the bullpen to help with its postseason push. It was in September of that season when he set a record with a 105.1-mph pitch.
Take away a four-game stretch in May, when Chapman gave up 10 runs in 1 1/3 innings with 12 walks, and the 23-year-old was very good for Cincinnati this season.
After a few weeks in Arizona, the Reds will send Chapman to pitch in winter ball for about a month, and hope he can work his way up to five-inning starts.
"We're trying to get him to Puerto Rico, but we haven't finalized anything yet," Jocketty said.
The Reds have more candidates than rotation spots heading into next season, and are considering adding someone for one of the top two places. That means Chapman is not automatically locked in.
"He'll definitely have to compete for a spot," Jocketty said.
Jocketty dismisses Votto trade speculation
CINCINNATI -- Speculation has been brewing that the Reds would consider trading first baseman Joey Votto, or at least listen to offers, as his salary escalates toward his free-agent eligibility.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty poured water on that Hot Stove fire on Monday.
"We haven't talked about it. I wish that people would stop writing it," Jocketty said. "Why would we trade one of the best players in the game? We're trying to win."
The Reds avoided arbitration with Votto by signing him to a three-year, $38 million contract on Jan. 17. The deal did not take away any years of free-agent eligibility.
The 2010 National League Most Valuable Player, Votto made $5.5 million in 2011, and is due $9.5 million next season before jumping to $17 million in 2013. As a team with a $80 million payroll that expects it to only modestly jump in the coming seasons, Votto's 2013 salary would take up a huge fraction.
With prospect Yonder Alonso on the roster and a strong need for a top end starting pitcher, there have been suggestions that the Reds could move Votto with two years left on his contract to get a potentially better deal than possibly trying to deal him closer to free agency.
Without specifying, Jocketty said that the Reds had budgeted for Votto's salary increase when they signed him last winter.
In 161 games this season, the 28-year-old Votto batted .309 with 29 home runs, 103 RBIs and a NL leading .416 on-base percentage.