Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

aroldis chapman redsLast night, we discussed the possibility that the Reds will blow the whole thing up, and perhaps their most obvious trade asset is lefty Aroldis Chapman. The overpoweringly, ridiculously good closer is a free agent after 2016, and could make upwards of $13 million this season. On a rebuilding, non-competitive team, he’s a pricey luxury, and he could net a ton of young talent in trade.

So, trade him the Reds will. And, at least if the latest rumors are to be believed, they’ll be trading him very soon:

And the Red Sox could be among the most aggressive suitors:

Given the Red Sox’s young talent, which cannot all be accommodated in the coming years, and their need at the back-end of the bullpen, Chapman seems as good of a fit there as anywhere. The Diamondbacks are believed to have engaged the Reds previously on Chapman, and I’d expect there will be many other interested teams.

Chapman has been worth 10.2 WAR over the past four seasons, despite pitching between 54.0 and 71.2 innings in those seasons. Given that a closer is typically pitching in the most important innings of the tightest games, it’s almost impossible to overstate how valuable Chapman has been. I don’t think we yet have a great way of articulating how “valuable” late-inning relievers are, but I’ve always suspected they’re much more valuable (or damaging) than a glance at the rate stats and WAR values show.

(Before you ask, yes, to be sure, Chapman would be a dynamite addition to the Cubs … if they weren’t dealing with a still-limited budget. I suspect spending $13 million on Chapman, plus giving up prospects to get him, would not be palatable. But dang if he isn’t so impactful …. )

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