The New York Yankees have acquired left-handed relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. Jack Curry of the YES Network first reported the deal.
In exchange, the Reds received four prospects, including right-handed pitchers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.
The biggest move in the trade is obviously Chapman to New York, which does constitute a big risk.
Chapman was reportedly involved in a domestic violence incident a few months ago, Yahoo! Sports reported during the Winter Meetings. At that time, the Reds were close to dealing Chapman to the Dodgers, but because of the allegations, the deal fell through.
With that said, Major League Baseball has a new domestic violence policy, where the commissioner has the chance to punish players how he feels necessary.
One interesting aspect to this saga is Chapman's free agent status. If he is put on MLB's restricted list in 2016 (in the event he is suspended), it is possible he could not reach six seasons of Major League Service Time, thus delaying his free agency to after the 2017 season. The Yankees must have taken this into consideration.
Domestic violence issues aside, Chapman adds another element to an already-dominant back-end of the Yankees bullpen. Alongside Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, New York now possesses the pitchers with the top three highest strikeout rates in baseball from 2014 to 2015. Chapman posted a 46.3 strikeout percentage (percent of plate appearances that ended in a strikeout), Miller posted a 41.6 percentage, and Betances posted a 39.5 percentage.
Chapman is easily the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball, easily hitting 100 MPH and topping out over 103. He will step into the closer's role in 2016, the position held by Miller last year.
In 2015, Chapman went 4-4 with a 1.63 ERA and a 116 to 33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 66 1/3 innings pitched last season. He saved 33 games in 36 opportunities and was named to his fourth All-Star team in a row. According to FanGraphs, the Cuban lefty was worth 2.5 Wins Above Replacement.
For the Reds, the deal of Chapman helps their rebuilding efforts for the future. While none of the prospects they got are true headliners, Davis and Jagielo are projected to have a chance to make a true big league impact down the road.