NEW YORK -- As Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman continues to post zeroes on the board, the questions persist as to when he will become Reds starter
On Wednesday, Reds manager Dusty Baker maintained the club's need to have Chapman as a setup man, but that his likely future was as a starter.
"We lost [Ryan] Madson. We lost [Bill] Bray. If he wasn't in the position he's in now, we wouldn't be in the position that we're in," Baker said. "He's gotten people out of trouble. He's won games. Imagine where we'd be without him in this role right now. I have to do what I think is best for him and us right now."
In 15 appearances, including the eighth inning of Wednesday's 6-3 win over the Mets, Chapman has yet to allow a run through 19 1/3 innings -- the most scoreless innings from any reliever in the National League. He has a 3-0 record with five walks and 34 strikeouts.
In 14 appearances entering Wednesday, Chapman had yet to allow a run through 18 1/3 innings -- the most scoreless innings from any reliever in the National League. He has a 3-0 record with five walks and 32 strikeouts.
"A lot of times, that eighth inning is tougher than closing. Some day he might end up being the closer," said Baker, which he hadn't previously hinted. "But you have to graduate to that. He just barely graduated to being a reliever last year. Now he's graduated to setup man. Who knows where he may graduate to?
"It's not a matter of only when [Chapman starts], but who takes his place. Replacement cost is something sometimes. At this point, is he more valuable to us three or four days a week, or one day a week on what we need right now?"