Chicago Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has pulled another rabbit out of his hat.
The Cubs have traded for flame throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, taking him away from the New York Yankees, without giving up a single core player from the already World Series contending squad. Better yet, bringing in Chapman keeps him away from other contenders like the Nationals and Giants. Let’s break the trade down.
Chapman’s contract is up at the end of the year. He could very well just be a rental for this season. Knowing this, the organization tried desperately to make a move without giving up someone like Kyle Schwarber or Javier Baez. They ended up trading away Gleyber Torres, the number one ranked prospect in the organization. On paper that may seem steep for a rental, however, Torres is a shortstop and the Cubs have two incredibly capable players in Addison Russell and Baez who could play the position for years. Both are under 24 years old.
They also gave up outfield prospect Billy McKinney and reliever Adam Warren. Neither player will be greatly missed within the organization. To make a long story short, the Cubs landed someone who can help them close out games in October, and gave up players who may not even have positions on the big league club because of the incredible depth the Cubs have.
Another important point to factor in is the likelihood that Chapman would have been traded somewhere else. He was the hottest name on the trade market, with teams such as the Giants and Nationals reportedly showing interest. Having to face him in the 9th inning in October wouldn’t have been fun for the Cubs’ hitters.
It’s similar to when the Cubs signed Jason Heyward and John Lackey during the off-season. Not only did the Cubs improve their roster but they hurt the roster of the Cardinals by taking away two of their key players.
Bringing in Chapman is undoubtedly a terrific baseball decision. However, the elephant in the room is his off the field issues. He was suspended the first 30 games of this season stemming from a domestic violence issue last October. Is bringing in someone like him the best move for the locker room? The organization has said they’ve vetted him and talked with him and are assured their won’t be any issues. But for a team that prides themselves on having great clubhouse guys, this move might seem sideways.
Do you like the Cubs bringing in Aroldis Chapman?