The New York Yankees and Cinncinnati Reds have agreed in a trade sending prized closer, Aroldis Chapman, to the Yankees in exchange for a package of four minor league prospects, including: Eric Jagielo, Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis and Tony Renda.
Chapman is far and away the biggest name in the deal, arguably the best closer in baseball, posting a 1.14 WHIP to go with a 1.63 ERA and 15.7 K/9 last season, which was on the low end of his career numbers. The 27-year-old is in his prime and could be a free agent after 2016, but faces potential punishment from an alleged domestic abuse incident initially ending the Reds’ first attempt to trade him to the Dodgers earlier this winter. Depending on the suspension (if there is a suspension) Chapman’s arbitration clock may extend into 2017. The move means a few different options for the Yankees:
- They can stand pat and have the best back of the bullpen in baseball with Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, three players who routinely reach the upper 90’s with their fastballs and strike out obscene amounts of hitters. This would help compensate for a questionable rotation, especially as it pertains to eating innings and also would fix a problem the past couple of seasons of the bullpen wearing down towards the end of the year (conceivably, if all three stayed healthy, they can eat well over 200 innings).
- They could trade Andrew Miller or Dellin Betances. Miller could make sense, but alone wouldn’t net the kind of return for the Yankees to proactively trade four prospects just to get another closer to take his place. Trading Betances doesn’t make sense because there is at least a chance (despite money coming off the books next year) Chapman walks, leaving the Yankees with two years of Andrew Miller and nothing else in 2017 when they realistically stand to begin competing (Betances is under team control the longest).
- This could lead to another trade, potentially Brett Gardner and Miller in a packaged deal. This would make the most sense given the Yankees don’t seem likely to challenge for a world championship this year and this trade solidified its only major strength and addressed none of its weaknesses. Brian Cashman struck while the iron was cold, not surrendering a top prospect and he may very well have a bigger trade waiting in the wings. With Chapman and Betances, the Yankees still have a top back of the bullpen (and if Chapman dominates and the Yankees are out of it, they can move him, or keep him and let him walk for an extra pick, or try to resign him). A Miller and Gardner trade could net something somewhat impactful such as a young starter or power-hitting outfielder, or just a package of high-level prospects to keep the farm system stocked.
For the Reds it is a move that had to be made this winter. They are a team in full rebuilding mode and Chapman was a major piece until his issues were publicized over the winter. Though they did not get Jorge Mateo or Aaron Judge, the two top prospects after Greg Bird and Luis Severino were promoted last August, they did receive a couple of solid second tier prospects, with Jagielo and Davis ranking sixth and 10th in the Yankees’ system respectfully.
Eric Jagielo hit .284/.347 in AA last season hitting nine home runs and striking out 58 times in 222 at bats. He is 23-years-old, about a year away from the majors and considered the Yankees’ top third baseman prospect.
Caleb Cotham’s name has been mentioned a few times within Yankees’ circles and he made an uninspiring debut to the majors at the age of 28 last season, pitching to a 6.52 ERA in just nine innings. Cotham is nothing more than a fresh arm at this point, but could help eat some innings for the Reds as a major league ready arm.
Rookie Davis has an intriguing and emerging arm in the Yankees’ system. At 22-years-old, he has struggled with command and has been slow developing, but he did reach AA last season and has tremendous talent. Davis throws in the low to mid 90’s as a starter and is projected by some to end up as a reliever where he can routinely throw in the upper 90’s. He is currently considered one of the better Yankees’ starting pitching prospects in the system and likely the top prospect in this deal. Davis, like Chapman, could instead find himself in more of a closer’s role in the future, depending on how the Reds’ decide he would work best.
Tony Renda was traded from the Nationals to the Yankees last year and hit .269/.330 with 23 stolen bases and very little power in 127 games across AA. At 24-years-old and standing at 5’8″, Renda is not a major prospect, most recently ranking 12th in the Nationals’ system at the end of the 2014 system.
[graphiq id=”kCoNDQNqjwp” title=”Aroldis Chapman” width=”600″ height=”452″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/kCoNDQNqjwp” link=”http://baseball-players.pointafter.com/l/2719/Aroldis-Chapman” link_text=”Aroldis Chapman | PointAfter”]