Aroldis Chapman

The Cincinnati Reds get rid of another player in their massive rebuilding movement which is about trading every player worth anything and getting paid a little bit of money. The New York Yankees were there to help, taking in Aroldis Chapman, while sending four minor league players in return.

The Reds get right-handers Caleb Cotham and rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda but the big news here are the Yankees, who weren’t big players in the free agency market this offseason, looking more into trades to bolster their team. They’ve added Chapman, a four-time All-Star and one of the best closers in baseball, to an already dominant bullpen, with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, who might still be moved before the season begins, also there to grab attention. If the Yankees do hold on to all three of them, it’ll be the first time three pitchers who had at least 100 strikeouts in relief the season before will play on the same team.

The thing about trading for Chapman, thinking about protecting their aging and not too trustworthy rotation, is the risk because of the potential suspension. Florida law enforcement and the league are still looking into the October 30 incident, in which Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend and then fired eight shots from a handgun in his home. He hasn’t been charged with domestic violence, but the gun violation might result in a 45-day suspension from the league. The Yankees were willing to take that risk.

The Dodgers almost had Chapman but the deal fell through during the winter meetings, when the news of the investigation broke out. There have been a couple of teams linked with Chapman, but it’s all been a little hush hush, with many teams possibly staying away from him until they had more information about what the league was going to do about him. The Yankees just take bigger risks than others, or know something someone else doesn’t.

Chapman had a 1.63 ERA last season in 66.1 innings with 33 saves, striking out 15.7 batters per nine innings. The Yankees were 21st last season in innings pitched by their starters, and will probably keep that number low, now having the three relievers with the highest strikeout per inning count in Major League Baseball. Chapman, 27, is hitting free agency after the 2017 World Series. He’s been with the Reds since 2010, posting a 2.17 ERA for them in 324 appearances.

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