The New York Yankees have sealed a deal with the Cincinnati Reds to acquire controversial 27-year-old flamethrower Aroldis Chapman in exchange for four farmhands, YES Network's Jack Curry reported Monday.
With the addition of the Cuban lefty, who just completed slotting into the closer's role, the Bombers have locked and loaded the most dominant back-end bullpen trio in the sport for 2016 along with current closer Andrew Miller, who saved 36 games in his inaugural Yankee sason, and two-time All-Star setup man Dellin Betances; a strategy the team likely hopes will shorten games for a rotation riddled with question marks due to injuries and workload concerns.
Heading to the Reds are righties Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infield prospects Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. While Jagielo and Davis have been ranked among the team's top 10 prospects by various sources, none of the four are ranked among the top 30 MLB prospects by anyone; and Cotham is the only one of the quartet who could be considered remotely described as ready for the bigs, having registered an impressive 10.2 SO/9 ratio but a dismal 3.7 HR/9 ratio and 6.35 ERA and over 9.2 innings spanning 12 appearances with the MLB club last season.
Chapman, who is coming off a season that saw him register the 62 fastest pitches in MLB while striking out 116 over 66 1/3 IP and saving 33 games for the Reds, and putting up a 1.63 ERA, his lowest since 2012. Over the last seven seasons in Cincy he's saved 146 games in 164 chances, struck out 546 over 319 IP and regustered a career ERA of 2.17.
Chapman earned $8.05 million last year, is arbitration eligible this year and could become a free agent after next year. However, he is under investigation by the league for an alleged domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend last October -- which reportedly blew up an earlier trade with the Dodgers -- and although no criminal charges were filed he may ultimately face suspension by Commissioner Rob Manfred. If he is suspended more than 40 games, he would fail to reach the service time required to allow him to become a free agent and would remain under team control a second year. Estimates for his 2016 arbitrated salary are around $13 million.