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aroldis chapman redsIt has been assumed for some time that the Cincinnati Reds would try to move closer Aroldis Chapman this offseason. The team is rebuilding, Chapman has huge value, and is a free agent after next season. I offer this up front as a reminder that, regardless of what happened this offseason, the Reds did have reason to be trying to trade Chapman.


Yesterday, word broke that the Reds and Dodgers had agreed to a deal that would send Chapman to L.A. for prospects. Because of the presence of Kenley Jansen there, it was a fun trade to discuss and unpack. But it didn’t, you know, actually happen.

Folks wondered what was up until Jeff Passan and Tim Brown broke the news: Chapman was involved in a scary-sounding domestic incident in late October, and the trade to the Dodgers was now on shaky ground. The Dodgers, understandably concerned about the incident, itself, and the possibility that Chapman could be suspended under baseball’s new domestic violence policy, slowed things up.

Because Chapman was not ultimately arrested, the incident apparently never made it onto the radar of interested teams. Did the Reds know? It’s hard to imagine they didn’t, especially when you consider this report from the Boston Globe, indicating that the Red Sox backed away from Chapman back in November – remember when it looked like he was about to be traded there? – because their background work revealed the incident. If the Red Sox found out about the incident, then sure Chapman’s own team was aware.

So, then, how do we feel about what now looks like a situation where the Reds were quickly trying to deal a player they knew had been involved in, or at least allegedly connected to, a serious incident (to be sure, Chapman’s representative denied the facts as alleged), knowing all along that they could trade the guy and then he could be suspended for weeks or months before he ever threw a pitch for his new team? Maybe that’s just being savvy, but I don’t really care for it. Something about it seems outside the spirit of baseball, especially given that the incident allegedly involved domestic violence.

Reds President Walt Jocketty had this to say to, which I will let speak for itself:

“The trade is still possible,” he said. “We’ve talked to several clubs. I’ve notified them all tonight that we will step back for a couple of weeks or whatever it takes. They were fine.

“This actually came up the last 24 hours. That’s not what held up the trade. We just weren’t able to complete it as fast as we wanted to.”

So, then, from a baseball perspective, maybe a deal eventually gets done when teams have confidence that Chapman won’t be suspended, assuming they’re still interested in him at all. Of course, in a perverse way, Chapman could suddenly have more trade value:

The whole things just stinks.

As the situation is understood today, the Reds look bad. Chapman, of course, looks bad, though it’s important to note that he was not charged with a crime and his representative denies the fact alleged. And the Dodgers may have been left holding the bag (who knows how their talks with the Reds, and the appearance of a will-be-completed deal impacted their other decisions over the last few days).

It’s a mess. The whole thing is a mess. I expect there to be many more revelations on this in the coming days and weeks.

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