The domestic violence allegations against closer Aroldis Chapman will likely make it very difficult for the Reds to trade him, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes. Police records indicate that, in late October, Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend, shoved her against a wall and fired eight gunshots in his garage. The allegations appear to have derailed the Reds’ trade of Chapman to the Dodgers. “I know we can’t touch him. Our owner would never go for that. And I’m getting the sense from other teams that they feel the same way,” one NL executive says. “Yeah, we know talent can cover up some character flaws, but domestic violence is such a hot topic now.” Spurred by cases involving Ray Rice and others in the NFL, domestic violence has become a high-profile issue in sports, and a team trading for Chapman would likely now be opening itself to a barrage of criticism. It doesn’t look like MLB’s investigation into Chapman’s situation will be resolved quickly, either. Nightengale notes that Chapman’s situation could lead to changes in the way MLB teams announce player acquisitions, potentially including language about completing background checks as well as physicals. Here are more notes from the NL Central.
- The Cubs have maintained steady contact with Jason Heyward’s representation, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. It’s uncertain, however, whether they’ll continue to have interest after agreeing to terms with Ben Zobrist. Heyward has lately been connected to the Giants, Angels and Cardinals.
- One possibility for the Cardinals if they can’t re-sign Heyward is to sign Alex Gordon for less, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests (Twitter links). With the savings, they could then pursue NPB starter Kenta Maeda. Gordon could play right field in 2016, then move to left if the Cardinals decline Matt Holliday’s option for the following season.
- The Pirates are interested in re-signing Sean Rodriguez, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. Rodriguez batted a modest .246/.281/.362 with the Bucs in 2015 but helped with his versatility, playing competent defense while splitting his time between first and the corner outfield positions (and also occasionally helping elsewhere in the infield).
- The Bucs are exploring a variety of possibilities at first base, writes MLB.com’s Adam Berry. Specifically, Berry writes that the Pirates have expressed interest in Mike Napoli, although the right-handed Napoli seems like a slightly awkward fit given the presence of the right-handed Michael Morse on the Bucs’ roster. After non-tendering Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates are looking for a new first baseman to form a bridge to top prospect Josh Bell.