Though the rotation is a more obvious area of need in Los Angeles, the Dodgers have nonetheless checked in on Aroldis Chapman, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. L.A. has recently been connected to Darren O’Day as well, and Heyman writes that they’re “very determined” to upgrade their bullpen however they can.
The Dodgers already possess one of baseball’s best closers in the form of Kenley Jansen It’s understandable that they’d be perhaps interested in acquiring help at the back end of the ‘pen because Jansen is a free agent next season, but so, too, is Chapman, thus making it a bit more of a questionable fit than a closer with more team control (e.g. Ken Giles, who is also rumored to be available).
Jansen and Chapman would, however, represent perhaps the most dominant late-inning duo in all of Major League Baseball, albeit at a highly premium cost. Chapman projects to earn $12.9MM this winter in his final offseason of arbitration eligibility, while Jansen is projected at a slightly more affordable (but still expensive, relative to his peers) salary of $11.4MM. The Dodgers typically operate with less regard for finances than any other club, however, so the notion of spending nearly $25MM on two relievers in a single season isn’t as outlandish for them as it would be another team.
Heyman does note that the Dodgers’ level of interest in Chapman isn’t yet known, though Chapman isn’t the type of player a team would kick the tires on in hopes of landing him at a bargain rate; president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, GM Farhan Zaidi and the rest of the staff know full well that Chapman will be moved for a relatively steep price. The Reds reportedly are seeking controllable, MLB-ready talent in exchange for Chapman, and Cincinnati president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty recently expressed hope that the Reds will get a trade worked out prior to the Winter Meetings, which begin in two weeks.