The Royals are getting early trade interest in Aroldis Chapman, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. The seven-time All-Star is off to a strong start to the season.
Chapman has appeared in 14 games and tallied 12 2/3 innings out of Matt Quatraro’s bullpen. He’s allowed only five runs (four earned) and posted a 20:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 52 plate appearances. His 38.5% strikeout rate checks in eighth among the 219 relievers with 10+ innings. Chapman has gotten a swinging strike on 18.1% of his offerings — the 15th-best mark in MLB — and is holding opposing hitters to a .174/.269/.196 line overall.
The longtime star closer looks far better thus far in Kansas City than he did at the end of his Yankees’ tenure. The southpaw hit free agency last winter with his value at perhaps the lowest ebb of his career. Chapman had allowed a 4.46 ERA during his final season in the Bronx. His strikeout rate dropped below 30% for the first time in his 14-season MLB career, while last year’s 12.7% swinging strike rate was quite a bit below Chapman’s previous norms. Perhaps most worrisome was New York’s decision to leave him off its playoff rosters after Chapman spent time on the injured list with an infected tattoo and subsequently missed a team workout.
Chapman hasn’t quite returned to peak form, when his fastball was sitting in the triple digits and he was punching out just under half his opponents. He’s off to his best start in three years, though, again looking the part of a high-leverage arm. Chapman is averaging 99.3 MPH on his heater and 87.9 MPH on his slider, each figure checking in around two ticks harder than last season’s averages.
It’s still a small sample, but the early results are exactly what the Royals had envisioned when they took a buy-low flier in late January. Kansas City inked Chapman to a one-year, $3.75MM guarantee. The deal contained up to $5MM in additional performance bonuses — up to $2.5MM based on appearances, $2.5MM on games finished — but those incentives look perfectly reasonable so long as Chapman is pitching this well. The 35-year-old will receive $312,500 for every fifth appearance between 20 and 55 outings, and he’d land a matching sum for every fourth game finished between 12 and 40.
Chapman is at 14 appearances in 38 games. He’s on pace to max out the $2.5MM in appearance incentives. Kansas City has used him mostly in the middle innings while keeping Scott Barlow in the closer role. Chapman has four games finished, putting him on pace for 17. Of course, if Kansas City (or an acquiring team) installs him as their closer at any point, he’d be in better position to unlock more of those incentives. That’d be a good problem to have if Chapman is closing games effectively.
Despite the veteran reliever’s contributions, the Royals are off to a nightmarish start overall. They have an 11-27 record that has them ahead of only the A’s in the American League. A 35-year-old reliever on a one-year contract for a noncompetitive team is a straightforward trade candidate, so it’s little surprise bullpen-needy clubs are getting in touch with the K.C. front office.
While the Royals are receiving early trade interest, it’s unlikely any deal will come together in the immediate future. For one, Chapman can’t be traded without his consent until next month. Major league free agents who sign MLB contracts receive an automatic no-trade right until June 15 of the following season under the collective bargaining agreement. Even if Chapman were amenable to waiving that to join a contender within the next five weeks, it’s rare to see trades of significance hammered out this early in the season.
Traditionally, the Royals have been more willing than most clubs to explore early-season trades if they’re well out of contention. They dealt Carlos Santana to the Mariners in late June last season and reportedly began shopping Andrew Benintendi around the same time. Those moves came under former president of baseball operations Dayton Moore, though, and earnestly shopping veteran players in the second week of May is a different level altogether. Even with the Royals highly likely to miss the playoffs, it’s easier for them to hold Chapman for now as rival teams take more time to determine how aggressively to pursue trades for relief help.
So long as he’s healthy and still performing in four to six weeks, Chapman figures to be a very popular target. The Royals could also market Barlow, who has a season and a half of remaining arbitration control, and impending free agent southpaw Amir Garrett.
Just praying Chappy doesn’t end up back in the Bronx. I know he’s throwing 104 again though.
Nawww… he burned his bridge with the Yankees.
Yeah, what he did was just as bad as it gets in terms of clubhouse chemistry, aside from maybe betting against the team you manage (i.e. Alabama baseball).
I don’t care if he’s throwing 144.
Oh, please, please, just keep burning it down the pipe. I don’t care about Bronx, Royals, Reds, or whoever laundry. Chappy makes baseball fun!
Chappy is more likely to be acquired by the Mets than the Yankees, I should think.
If the Phillies are in the race I suspect he ends up there
The real miss in the Kimbrel trade is going to be the arm they gave up if he comes back from TJ well
The only way the Yankees take him back is if KC takes Hicks.
Hicks was even booed by Yankee fans in Tampa.
Just praying Chappy doesn’t end up in the Bronx again, even though he’s hitting 104 again.
Who cares that would be a great fit. How about St. Louis?
Yeah STL needs a closer, they only got that bum Helsley and that other bum Gallegos.
Er, what planet are you on?
Boys for you RobblyDobs
And imagine him retaking the closer role from weaker Clay Holmes
I agree. And I agree.
Yep Chapman is looking great this year. Similar to what happened with Craig Kimbrel
Not really. It was the dumbest trade I’ve ever seen. The Sox got Kimbrel and the cubs got our second baseman. Real smart, trading away Madrigal to get a closer when we already had Hendriks. Disaster. The great Kimbrel pitched to a 5.04 ERA and 1 save. The Sox traded Kimbrel to the Dodgers for A.J. Pollock. Pollock was a FA after 2022 and left for Seattle. The result of our wiley FO: The Sox got nothing and lost their second baseman. We haven’t had a second baseman going on three years now.
This is really the first of those three years that the second baseman is healthy so this is the year you should be missing him.
And Kimbrel looks like he needs a comfort level. Took him months to start pitching well for the Cubs, and then pitching great. Sox didn’t have that.
Madrigal has done basically nothing with the Cubs. I liked him, and was hoping my RS would trade for him, but the power never developed, and you can almost never slap-hit yourself to a good OPS.
But worse than Madrigal might be the fact that. just to prove they were “right”, the WS picked up his option. Then to prove that picking up the option was “right”, they had to trade him for an even worse contract.
I think Madrigal has done nothing for the Cubs since they got him until this year. He’s shown great defense, contact hitting, all of which they thought they would have last year. Healthy is important. I’ll give him the benefit of that for now. A lot of players just take time to get healthy and not rush it. Kris Bryant, for example, is doing great now that he spent most of last year on the IL.
This is who our Red Sox needs. He has an axe to grind against the Yankees which is always a plus for Red Sox fans. You have a backend of Martin, Chappy, and Jansen with our offense the starting rotation just has to be average at best. Just don’t give them 7 runs. As long as he can control the pitch he’d be great. I think it would energize him being on a team with a fanbase that loves Yankee beat downs.
The Angels were the first team I thought of.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Great talent and a real man
Bad work ethic
Trade a 21-30 organization prospect for him
What’s the distinction between a man and a “real man” in Chapman’s case?
deGrom Texas Ranger
A man with a real fastball is a real man. He’s Chap the Man.
Ya see, only the real men choke their gf and fire 8 shots in a fit of rage
Is there really any proof of that? We’re you there?
It was actually all in the police report, which was made public at the time. I don’t recall that he assaulted anyone but he did fire a handgun in his garage and broke a car window in rage over a domestic dispute. Someone’s definition of a real man? I guess… but it would have to be someone who is not that thing themselves.
But if you fire 8 shots, and none of them find a victim, isn’t that just blowing off steam/celebrating?
Yes, yes, there is proof.
Perhaps he should have choked the gun and fired the girlfriend. 😉
Manfred Rob's Earth Band
I was. My ears are still ringing. Dammit Chappy!
Typical American answer. Firing a weapon in a dwelling is not blowing off steam, it’s completely reckless and foolish. Take a walk, do yoga, rub one out are all blowing off steam. Firing a weapon in a fit of rage is a coward.
He could’ve killed an innocent bystander. He’s a coward.
Well he stunk versus the Orioles
Well the second game he did
I doubt this happens but could we see him pitching for Tampa? I know Adam has been solid in Fairbanks’ absence, though.
The reason I’d suspect the Royals of trying to dump Chapman early is the eventuality that he might come back down to earth. Sell high!
Good surmise, bronxmax77
Sure, he could regress, but all that velocity and spin is back, so…
The old May trade target. Classic.
My pick for Chapman is Toronto. They need another hard thrower.
And another Chapman
Jays need to look themselves in the mirror and understand that they have a lot of talent but they’re struggling to play up to that level. They really should be dominating the ALE but instead, they sit 4th, half game up on the garbage time Yankees.
They’re kind of like the Mets if you ask me
You may fool the whole world down the pathway
of life and get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartaches and
tears if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Dominating the ale will kill ya. I stick to beer.
They’re probably the perfect trade target for Kansas City. I highly doubt after his domestic disturbance issue they will be a match though. The Rogers corporation will not want to associate with that character for better or worse just like Roberto Osuna.
They could get Alomar’s name out of the Rogers Centre fast enough when that story broke.
Fever Pitch Guy
Robbie Alomar says hello eh
I think he makes sense for the Diamondbacks or Pirates. They could use him and he stays away from NY.
The first team I thought of was AZ. They have the prospects, and the back end of their bullpen is unsettled.
Jim Thome is my homie
I can see the Pirates dealing. They only have 1 lefty that’s not hurt, and he’s a rule 5 guy. Plenty of depth in the minors to deal.
Chapman had a zero ERA over 10 appearances last April. Imploded in May and never got it back. His ERA this May is almost 8.00.
Relax, his “almost 8.00” ERA is in 2.1 innings.
Would it be cynical to think this is a paid KC sales pitch?
If it’s paid, it would be from Chapman and not KC. If so, good luck to the collections team getting that payment. They have alligator arms.
I wouldn’t take this guy on a waiver claim, no matter how hard he throws. He’s bad news and will only implode again given time.
And what team are you the GM of?
I thought so, too, Blue Baron.
Stove is getting hot
Let’s not mention the whole domestic violence thing as a reason teams might not want to trade for him.
Who would honestly take him? Or give up anything of worth for him?
A trade to the Rangers could make sense. The Rangers could use another backend pen arm and they have some extra Talent they can afford to give up without touching the ML roster or their top 4-5 prospects.
And the royals need talent at every spot except first base so maybe a package like Cole Winn, Dustin Harris and a throw in could get it done.
@TrillionaireTeamOperator: Whichever team trades for him.
No way anybody is taking him in middle of May. The better bet is he melts like butter in the summer sun starting pretty soon. Of course, KC wants to move him b4 that happens, and there’s always the Mets waiting to prove Forrest Gump’s mama’s axiom true, so anything can happen. It is the Mets after all.
deGrom Texas Ranger
Replace Harris (position of weakness – OF) with Saggese, Morrobel, Acosta, or Ornelas and it sounds great. I’d be happy with that trade. It’s just that the Rangers only have 1 regular outfielder in Adolis Garcia and 3 4th outfielders playing as regulars. They have Carter, Zavala, and the converted Harris as prospects, but I expect 1 of those to be a solid outfielder, with the other 2 being busts due to prospect uncertainty.
This low key environment is perfect for Aroldis. All of his troubles were between his ears under the bright lights last year
Let the big man enjoy himself and finish out his career in Kansas.
Backup Catcher to the Backup Catcher
Losing teams don’t need an elite closer. Better to cash them out for help down the road. Same is true for Amir Garrett. Besides, LHP relievers who can generate KS are are always in demand.
I think the following NL teams may be a decent landing spot for either pitcher.
Arizona: Seem intent on contending this year. Don’t know if Chafin can hold that closer job all year.
Cubs: A reunion? Could be a reality.
Mets: Robertson is okay if he can hold up. Still, a powerful LH option would help.
Phillies: All depends upon the severity of Alvarado’s elbow injury. MRI showed no structural damage, but will the inflammation continue when he starts to pitch again?
Lay off the Pepsi Cola in the morning bud
You don’t know what your talking about.
End of discussion .
Pretty sure you have stuffing between your ears. Chapman was dominant with NYY. Those bright lights have nothing to do with his problems.
If you also don’t understand that losing teams tend to trade pieces like Chapman, maybe you don’t have to behave like a little preteen who doesn’t know how to behave themselves in public and learn a little.
What cap will he wear when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame?
None cuz he’s not making it
I heard that the Mets coach Wayne Kirby is willing to give up his uniform number 54 for Chappy.
FWIW, this is what all rebuilding teams should be doing. Instead of the Rox signing guys like Rox signing guys like Bryant, for example,, they could’ve signed a few RPs. They’d have probably added the same amount of value, but they are easily moveable at the deadline.
That’s because the Rockies live in an alternate reality where they believe that they’re not rebuilding.
This is the Rox attempt at winning, which is scary for that franchise.
DD probably already made a call yday.
Alvarado has morphed into a stud and the Phillies are primed for another run. Depending on his final diagnosis and depending on what JJ wants…?
Just not sure Chapman will accept a similar role in Topper’s bullpen. Assume he wants to get paid in the off season?
TX? Can’t see Bochy being keen for Chappy’s baggage
LAA? Makes too much sense
ARZ? If they are still winning in a month, maybe
CUBs? Would align with the resurgence
DET? Longshot – Lange looks locked in but if they continue closing the gap…
TB? Could be a short-term fix for a team that always looking to one-up NY
NYY? The favourite
NYM? Chapman a decent fit, but rotation needs more attention
MIA? Don’t discount them
Mo Rivera turned bats into firewood with a 91 mph cutter. But yeah, go get that 104 mph missile thrower. And watch him walk the bases full.
Rangers sure could use him
Jim Thome is my homie
I can see him in Pittsburgh, and he can be a setup guy. They need to move for another lefty. They only have a rule 5 guy since everyone else is injured. Enough prospects in the minors to get something done, and it should be relatively cost effective.