Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

After he was nearly traded to the Dodgers – a team with whom he would have been paired with one of the elite closers in the game – Aroldis Chapman has now been traded to the Yankees. You know, a team with two guys that could be among the elite closers in the game.

The reason, of course, that the Yankees can acquire Chapman without giving up top prospects is the same as the reason his trade to the Dodgers was scuttled earlier in the month: a reported domestic violence issue that could lead to a suspension (not to mention PR headaches).

The Yankees will be the team to take the risk that Chapman is suspended after the trade (but also get the “upside” of a long suspension pushing his free agency back a year (something that, if you’re a Yankee fan, I’d like to think feels really, really icky to root for)). The whole situation is ugly, and the Reds clearly just wanted to get rid of Chapman in the best possible deal they could.

The impact here for the NL Central is an even further reduced Cincinnati Reds club, which will probably pick up a handful of decent upside prospects for Chapman, but nothing even remotely close to what they could have gotten for him midseason.

As for the Yankees, they can now go with an hilariously overwhelming 7-8-9 inning trio of Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. That will be really fun to follow, being that the Cubs won’t have to face it regularly.

And that is, of course, if the Yankees actually keep all three – something about which I’m dubious. I could easily see the Yankees now increasing their efforts to move Miller for a starting pitcher.

UPDATE: The deal has been announced, and the prospects headed to the Reds are righties Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis, and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. Davis and Jagielo are top ten Yankees prospects, and pretty solid pieces, but not top 100 types.

UPDATE 2: Some stray thoughts on the deal … I keep seeing that, “in terms of baseball value,” this is a good trade for the Yankees. Well, I mean, yeah. Of course it is. The Reds are desperate to tank, have a seriously damaged asset that’s under control for one more year, and decided that they had to make a trade at all costs. Of course the price to the Yankees was going to be relatively minimal. But the thing is, it’s not just about the baseball value. There’s the risk of suspension, the risk of Chapman having other issues, and the risk that he’s not a good fit for the fans/the clubhouse/etc. If you haven’t read the story about the alleged domestic violence/gun-shooting incident from earlier this offseason, you can read about it here. It’s disturbing.

As Luke said on Twitter, the Cubs, of course, could have easily matched this deal, but he is – and I am – content to see the Cubs not involved.

But, of course, the baseball side of things does still matter, so here’s one bit: the Yankees now have the number 1 (Chapman), 2 (Miller), and 4 (Betances) relievers in baseball by 2015 strikeout rate. The extent to which they could be dominant in the late innings cannot be overstated. It’s just crazy.

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