Earlier today, the Yankees made a drastic move to upgrade the bullpen, acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Reds in exchange for a four-player package including third baseman Eric Jagielo, right-hander Rookie Davis, right-hander Caleb Cotham and second baseman Tony Renda. Given the domestic abuse allegations surrounding Chapman and the Yankees’ newfound bulk of elite relievers, there are no shortage of reactions to to this move. Here are some of the early reaction pieces and ripple effects from the trade…
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to the media shortly after the trade was announced and said his “intent” is to hang onto Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, using both in conjunction with Chapman at the back of the bullpen (via ESPN New York’s Wallace Matthews). Wallace notes that Cashman could eventually change course and move Miller, perhaps in a trade for a controllable starter (while also shedding some payroll), though Cashman himself gave no indication of such a scenario playing out. The YES Network’s Jack Curry, in fact, tweets that Cashman said he called Miller shortly after the news broke and said he intends to keep all three relievers.
- As MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch writes, Cashman said the Yankees did as much due diligence as possible in looking into Chapman’s legal troubles and the possible suspension he faces from commissioner Rob Manfred under MLB’s new domestic violence policy. Cashman somewhat delicately noted that the asking price on Chapman has been “modified” in light of the allegations — that is to say, it has dropped significantly — which led the Yankees to make the acquisition. Said Cashman: “Certainly there are some serious issues here that are in play. I think it’s certainly reflected in some of the acquisition price. There’s risk, and I understand that. … We’ve done as much due diligence on the subject at hand as we possibly can, and we’ve completed the transaction based on a lot of that due diligence.”
- Just how much has the price dropped? Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Reds wanted Aaron Judge and one of Luis Severino or Gary Sanchez at the trade deadline. Sherman also looks atáthe reasons for the Yankees’ pursuit of Chapman in spite of the allegations, noting that the trade creates a potentially historic bullpen trio, helps to protect a fragile rotation, preserves the Yankees’ top prospects and changes the narrative that the team is not spending this offseason in an effort to win now. (Although, the trade certainly creates the opportunity to launch a far less flattering narrative.) Owner Hal Steinbrenner offered the following comment when asked by Sherman: “I approved the trade after significant thought and research, as I do with any significant trade.”
- Within his piece, Sherman notes that a suspension is most likely forthcoming for Chapman, but it will probably be “more in the 10-25 game range” than the 40-plus games that would cost Chapman his shot at free agency next winter. (Chapman currently has five years, 34 days of MLB service, meaning that if he misses 46 days of the regular season, he’d fall shy of six years of service and miss out on free agency eligibility.)
- The Yankees have built a laughably good bullpen on paper, writes Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan, who notes that the Steamer projection system now forecasts that the Yankees will have far and away the game’s best bullpen in terms of wins above replacement. However, he also notes that the upgrade might not be quite as drastic as some would think, because while Chapman comes with quite a bit of name value, the actual difference between him and lefty Justin Wilson, who departed in a trade after an excellent season, isn’t as stark as many might expect.
- ESPN’s Keith Law writes (Insider subscription required) that the Reds “must have wanted to get rid” of Chapman, because the package they received isn’t exactly inspiring. Law calls the package “all quantity but little quality,” noting that Davis has the chance to be an average MLB starter (roughly a No. 4 starter, he specifies) and Cotham can pitch in the bullpen right now. Jagielo will hit for some power but can’t play third base, in Law’s estimation, and has plenty of injury issues. The Reds didn’t get enough for a player of Chapman’s caliber, Law opines, but he also feels that the Yankees are sending the wrong message by acquiring a player with Chapman’s allegations hanging over his head.
- The Reds aren’t done trading after this move, president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty told reporters, including C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Jocketty said that the Reds will make more moves “if we can,” and he wouldn’t close the door on potentially trading Brandon Phillips even after the veteran invoked his no-trade clause to block a move to the Nationals earlier this month. (Jocketty did note that it’s likely Phillips will be with the team in 2016, though, adding that he hasn’t spoken to him since the failed Nationals trade.) The trade highlights Jocketty’s desire to add players that are reasonably close to the Major Leagues, Rosecrans writes, as each has already seen action at the Double-A level or higher. “That’s what I’m looking for. I want guys that can help us the next year or two,” said Jocketty. “I told our guys when we were researching different clubs that it’s nice to have guys who are long-range prospects, but we need guys in the next couple of years and that’s why we’re looking more for Double-A and Triple-A guys.” Cotham will probably pitch for the Reds in 2016, Jocketty said, and Jagielo, too, could be with the team next season, even if he has to do so in a bench capacity initially.
- The Yankees are, in some ways, emulating the model that the Royals rode to a championship, writes Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post. The team now boasts a three-headed bullpen monster that rivals Kansas City’s trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, and they’re also prioritizing young, up-the-middle players that can improve their defense (notably, he points out recent acquisitions of Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorius). The Yankees differ from Kansas City in the sense that their powerhouse bullpen was constructed largely via financial muscle, but the parallels, at least, are there in some regards.
- Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com have updated the list of the Reds’ Top 30 prospects to include both Davis and Jagielo, who rank eighth and ninth, respectively, among Cincinnati farmhands in their eyes.