Yesterday, it appeared the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers were on the verge of a blockbuster deal which would have saw Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in a Dodgers uniform.
However, this deal is now very much up in the air in light of a report alleging Chapman was involved in a domestic incident this past October 30th in which he choked his girlfriend and pushed her against a wall. Chapman is also alleged to have fired eight shots into the garage of his Miami home. No arrest was made.
Although the report was only made public yet the Boston Red Sox were aware of it last month. The Red Sox had been pursuing Chapman, but the report was enough for the teams to set its sights on Craig Kimbrel instead and they would subsequently acquire him from the San Diego Padres in a four player deal.
Even if this incident had never occurred, I wonder why the Dodgers are pursuing Chapman in the first place. After all, the Dodgers have an excellent closer in Kenley Jansen. Unless the Dodgers are planning to unload Jansen then we have another Jonathan Papeblon/Drew Storen situation. Have the Dodgers learned nothing from the Washington Nationals’ debacle this past season?
Chapman and Jansen are very comparable pitchers. Jansen, a native of Curacao, is less than six months older than the Cuban born Chapman and both took over the closer roles for their respective teams in 2012. They have pitched nearly the same amount of innings (259 1/3 for Jansen vs. 255 2/3 for Chapman) during this period. Chapman does have the statistical edge in saves (145 to 133), strikeouts (456 to 391), strikeouts per 9 innings (15.9 to 13.8) and ERA (1.90 to 2.33). While it could be argued that Chapman would be an upgrade over Jansen, it wouldn’t be a significant upgrade. The Dodgers weren’t in the Detroit Tigers’ position of knowing they couldn’t re-sign Joakim Soria and having only Bruce Rondon and Neftali Feliz as their other options. I could understand the Tigers pursuing Chapman. (They would ultimately acquire Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers).
There is an argument to be made that Chapman and Jansen could work since Chapman is a southpaw while Jansen is a righty and that who to use to close could depend on match ups. But this seems dubious to me. Two closers can’t co-exist. Just ask Sparky Lyle. Winning the AL Cy Young in 1977 didn’t stop George Steinbrenner from signing Goose Gossage. The only exception to that rule would have been the 1990 Cincinnati Reds with the Nasty Boys triumvirate of Randy Myers, Rob Dibble and Norm Charlton. The three were key in winning the Reds’ last World Series title.
With the departure of Zack Greinke, the Dodgers need to shore up their starting rotation. Signing free agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (who threw a no-hitter while with the Seattle Mariners this season) is a step in the right direction, but they could use one more starter. Then again what team couldn’t? It also probably wouldn’t hurt to sign an extra outfielder.
Domestic violence allegation or no domestic violence allegation, the Dodgers really don’t need Aroldis Chapman.