8:51pm: In a full column, Rosecrans has transcribed the entire quote from Jocketty:
“Boston was probably a player in it, we talked to them, but we didn’t get close to anything. We’ve been talking to clubs, but I don’t think there’s anything that’s close. Hopefully we get something done with somebody before the Winter Meetings. We’d like to get moving on some things.”
8:29pm: Aroldis Chapman’s name has been frequently mentioned in rumors over the past few months, and he figures to become a more pressing issue in the coming weeks. C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets that president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty says there’s “nothing close” with Chapman at this time. Jocketty, though, hopes to get something completed before the onset of the Winter Meetings, according to Rosecrans. This year’s Winter Meetings take place from Dec. 7-10 in Nashville, Tenn.
The Tigers, Red Sox, Astros, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Nationals have all been mentioned as potential trade partners, though the Tigers and Red Sox have, of course, already picked up late-inning relief help, which could remove them from the market. (Detroit acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Brewers this morning while Boston landed Craig Kimbrel from the Padres in a weekend blockbuster.) Considering the caliber of arm in question, it’s highly likely that other clubs will enter the mix and have already done so while going unreported.
With one year of club control remaining at a projected $12.9MM rate, Chapman isn’t a long-term piece. But, he’s the type of overpowering arm that a team expecting to contend could acquire to significantly boost its playoff hopes, even if said team already has a closer in place. There’s a very strong case that Chapman is the best relief pitcher in baseball (he’s certainly among the top five or so), and adding him to a bullpen doesn’t remove the incumbent closer, but rather a team’s seventh-best reliever. The difference between Chapman and any club’s most disposable big league reliever, of course, is sizable.
Any club acquiring Chapman now likely feels that it’s acquiring a 2017 draft pick as well, considering the fact that Chapman is the rare reliever that represents an easy call when it comes to a potential qualifying offer. So long as Chapman doesn’t blow out his arm in 2016, it feels like a given that he’ll be worthy of a QO next November. Trading him this winter, then, would be Cincinnati’s best bet at maximizing a return for the soon-to-be 28-year-old Chapman, who owns a 1.90 ERA with 16.1 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and 145 saves over the past four seasons with the Reds.