Winter Meetings: Aroldis Chapman Deal On Hold
Day-one of Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings delivered a hectic day of news to say the least. Fox Sports Senior Baseball writer Ken Rosenthal tweeted early Monday morning that an apparent deal had been struck between the Dodgers and Reds that would send dominant All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman to Los Angeles in exchange for two prospects. While the following hours were left up to dissection and speculation from analysts as to which young players from LA’s fairly rich farm system would be involved, all other news on the deal fell suspiciously quiet.
As time went on we learned that the Dodgers were not giving up an elite prospect package in their acquisition of Chapman, and that they also planned on retaining current closer Kenley Jansen, but no word had ever surfaced stating that the trade was official. Later on in the day, the tides on the Chapman deal changed dramatically when ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweeted that the Cincinnati Reds were now telling teams that no deal for Chapman was officially agreed upon. The reason behind this odd lack of communication on the part of both ballclubs’ upper management was a bit foggy at first; however, things became much clearer later Monday night when Yahoo Sports broke a story involving Chapman and allegations of a domestic violence incident.
According to a police report from the night of the incident on October 30th, Chapman was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend that resulted in him pushing her up against a wall, choking her, and later, firing eight gunshots in the garage of his Miami-area home. Although Chapman was not arrested or criminally charged following the incident, MLB is under their own jurisdiction to take disciplinary action against the 27 year-old reliever.
As of the most recent reports, the deal is not quite dead, but on hold for the time being. Chapman and his attorney Jay Resinger have both adamantly denied these allegations, but being that the Jose Reyes case from last month is still pending, it remains up in the air precisely how long this deal will be on hold for. A new domestic-violence policy had been put in place last August thanks to a collective bargaining agreement which gives the commissioner authority to discipline players whether or not they are convicted or plead guilty to a crime. It also allows him to place the given player on administrative leave for up to seven days while the investigation is taking place before making his disciplinary decision.
It is evident from the news in recent years that the world of sports have historically handled these types of situations horribly. In light of the travesty that was Greg Hardy’s reduced 4-game suspension from the NFL, I expect MLB to come down much harder on Chapman and rightfully so. Just how long Chapman’s seemingly imminent suspension — and Reyes’ too for that matter — is still in question.
Chapman has the most electrifying left arm in all of baseball, throwing 37.9% of his pitches over 100MPH and going 146 for 164 in save chances with the Reds. Pairing him with Kenley Jansen would give them them a fierce back-end of the bullpen and simultaneously flip a weak spot into a strength for the ballclub. Chapman and Jansen rank first and third respectively all-time in K/9, and with the price of this year’s starting pitching market, the Dodgers would be well-served to use that money elsewhere. Now, with an indefinite suspension in the cards for Chapman, it might be best for LA to completely bow out of the deal now and turn their focus elsewhere.