The Chicago Cubs announced their acquisition of southpaw closer Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the New York Yankees on Monday.
To boost their hopes of winning a World Series again, the Chicago Cubs pulled out all the stops to get Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees. Unsurprisingly, acquiring the star closer didn’t go all that smoothly for the Cubs. Chicago had to let go of some of their own assets for New York to agree. When they finally made the trade, the Yankees got shortstop Gleyber Torres, pitcher Adam Warren, and two minor league outfielders in Rashad Crawford and Billy McKinney.
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) July 25, 2016
It’s understandable why most pundits are thinking that moving Aroldis Chapman was a great move for the Yankees. New York initially traded for him because they wanted a quality closer. The Reds were more than willing to hand him over considering that they were rebuilding. However, the Yankees didn’t count on the MLB suspending Chapman on the first 29 games of the season. As a result, New York was never able to get anything good from him.
— ESPN (@espn) July 25, 2016
Let’s be clear on one thing though, Chapman is far from being washed up. The Yankees didn’t trade him because he was a liability. In fact, the Cuban Bullet’s 2.01 ERA is in 31 games with New York is better than the Cubs’ combine 3.83 ERA. The problem for the Yankees was that they weren’t willing to pay up to keep Chapman long-term. Along with the domestic violence case that caused his suspension, there just wasn’t any value in keeping him. The Yankees are going to miss the playoffs this year anyway so why not rebuild while they’re at it?
The Chicago Cubs Are Serious At Winning
As for the Cubs, getting Aroldis Chapman is arguably more than just getting an All-Star closer. Chicago is serious about winning the World Series this year. They have an outstanding offense but as mentioned earlier, their ERA isn’t the greatest. For a team that almost has a sure shot of going into the playoffs, a 3.83 ERA isn’t ideal. Yes, Hector Rondon has been phenomenal with his 1.95 ERA this season. However, the rest of Chicago’s bullpen hasn’t been as consistent.
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) July 26, 2016
Another reason for the Cubs wanting to get their hands on someone like Chapman is the competition. You’ll have to remember that Chicago might end facing Washington or San Francisco in the playoffs. There’s arguably no better lefty pitcher to stand up against lefty sluggers like Brandon Belt and Bryce Harper than Chapman. I mean, just last Monday night he unleashed a 105.1 mph fastball against J.J. Hardy. That velocity matched the fastest recorded by the MLB since 2008 (when they started keeping track of fastball speeds).
How Will The Aroldis Chapman Trade Impact Both Teams?
Personally, I think everyone involved in the trade will come out as winners. Obviously, New York isn’t going to get any better this season. However, they were able to get to 51-48 despite Chapman missing the first 29 games. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll find a way to win next season. They could either explore additional trades or lure a prized free agent or two. Additionally, they can work on retooling their roster without having to break the bank.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 25, 2016
Ideally, Chicago will come out better with this trade. They were able to address a weakness just in time to prepare for the playoffs. Now, there’s not as much pressure on Hector Rondon to close out games. Additionally, they’ll be able to counter lefty sluggers that they might encounter in the playoffs. For Aroldis Chapman, this should be an unenviable position to be in. He gets traded to a contender and has the opportunity to immediately impact games.