Cubs Potentially Trading For Aroldis Chapman? (UPDATES, Getting Close…Sigh)

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Holy shit…after we heard that Gleyber Torres was scratched from the lineup:

That’s REAL Jon Heyman, too.  Here’s I-think-he’s-real Rian, who I trust to not just throw this out for giggles:

I don’t like this idea on the surface for a number of reasons…

  1. I know Anthony Rizzo has said that whatever beef he’s had with Aroldis Chapman is water under the bridge, but you have to wonder how Chapman is going to fit within the culture of this organization.  That said, the front office does their due diligence and tries to make sure the guy is not only good, but will also be easy to get along with amongst the players, which is probably the most important thing.
  2. That being said, I don’t like having to compromise my morals due to the little incident early this year that got Chapman suspended for the first month of the season.  It does leave a bad taste in the mouth to have to root for a team that employs even an allegedly violent person, and it could potentially be a public relations nightmare for the organization due to how much we all hate domestic violence.
  3. If Rian is right about the extension, then I must be really bad at valuing closers because that seems like a lot of money and a lot of years to commit to a reliever, even one of Chapman’s ability.

Here’s more:

Now let’s get to why this is a good deal for the Cubs:

  1. The Cubs have a huge stash of position player talent and can afford to give up a commodity like Gleyber Torres for a game-changing closer in Aroldis Chapman.  Now they basically have shortened the game to five innings, with a matchup situation in the sixth inning, Pedro Strop in the seventh, Hector Rondon in the eighth, and Chapman closing.
  2. Chapman is, despite his faults, very good at throwing baseballs.  He has a strikeout rate at close to 37% for the Yankees this year so far, and is above 40% for his career.  The fastball is record-setting, touching 105 miles per hour.  Most batters just have to hope he walks them, hits them (ouch), or they just run into a fastball.
  3. And if Rian is right, and Chapman’s arm doesn’t fall off like I thought it would years ago given all the stress of throwing a baseball 100+ mph, then this is a linchpin for the Cubs bullpen during the window of contention with this core.

It comes down to our personal morals, and how we evaluate prospects and closers.  From a human standpoint, I hate this trade.  But from a baseball point of view, with the Cubs clearly contending?  I think it works, if the commodity being acquired weren’t a garbage person.  This is a trade that will define this front office, and not just because of how the Cubs finish their season.  I sincerely hope they have some character clauses built into the extension, because they might need them.

UPDATE 7:28 PM: MLB Twitter has gotten a hold of this, so take it for what you will…

So there is an extension on the table, whether it’s to the extent reported by Rian remains to be seen but I’d like you all to know he’s legit cool anyway even if this news is not all the way cool.  If they do in fact have the money to commit (remember that Edwin Jackson‘s contract is done after this season and they could also potentially be done with Jason Hammel‘s contract if they buy him out, not to mention not having to pay for Dexter Fowler if he leaves in free agency), that could be a good sign of the health of this organization as well, even if I’m currently questioning the front office’s mental health.  Again, it’s a good baseball move.  I’m just not sure it’s the best human move.  I think this sums it up for me…

UPDATE 8:15 PM: Julie, who usually has good sources, has a tidbit:

Andy has talked about Nathan Eovaldi before, and so far he’s having a meh season.  Michael Pineda is also a very interesting name who could be a fun project as he has good stuff but seems inconsistent.  Both Eovaldi and Pineda can be controlled through 2017 before they hit free agency.  Carlos Beltran is a near-Hall of Famer who would most likely be a bench bat since I can’t see the Cubs compromising outfield defense.  Julie also mentions that the “plus” in the deal could be Jorge Soler, who is currently rehabbing.  We shall see…

UPDATE 8:24 PM: Sahadev hears it’s a simpler deal:

Hopefully if that’s the case, the “more” is not Soler.

UPDATE 9:30 PM: Well here’s something else…

So if we’re following the trade train, it’s almost like the Cubs traded all those guys and Starlin Castro for Aroldis Chapman.  What a strange world this baseball trade deadline is.  But wait…

Just kidding!  Still waiting since trades do take a bit to finalize, almost like buying a house but without as much of a term attached, I guess.

UPDATE 11:15 PM: As far as I can tell, the trade is at least Torres for Chapman, and the alleged extension may be the only thing holding this up for now.  I’ll stop for tonight (unless something weird happens in the next hour or so) and just reiterate that while the trade makes sense from a baseball perspective (dependent on your view of how elite the reliever is, the value of a reliever on a team that’s already nearly a lock for the postseason, etc), the morality of the trade puts the outlook of the franchise in some doubt because of how they look now in considering Chapman.  This is particularly important to female fans, who are disproportionately involved in domestic violence incidents as victims.  It will be interesting to see how the Cubs address the Chapman incident and explain to their fans why this is the correct move now and for the future.

UPDATE 7/25 8:40 AM: 

The intrepid Ken Rosenthal, the real one, suggests more is on the table, including sending Adam Warren back since Cubs kept the gift receipt…

And so we wait some more. The hold up may in fact be money, although Chapman does not have much more than $5MM in remaining salary to deal with.

UPDATE 9:00 AM: Joel Sherman, Ken Rosenthal, and Sahadev Sharma seem to agree that it’s just a simple two-for-one where the deal is Torres and Adam Warren for Chapman straight up.  Sherman in particular:

So at least there was a line drawn in the sand.


That’s a four-for-one now.  I don’t know what to think of this.  My initial response, just like my other initial response last night, is that I hate it.


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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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