25 July 2016

In trading for Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs are going all in

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
There may still be a week to go until the (non-waiver) trade deadline but the biggest deal this go-around may have just occurred. The Chicago Cubs, still holding onto the best record in the majors despite inconsistent play the past two months, have made a bold move to solidify the back of their bullpen by acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees. In doing so, they will send their top prospect, shortstop Gleyber Torres, as well as pitcher Adam Warren and prospects Rashad Crawford and Billy McKinney to the Bronx.

In a season in which the goals for the team are clear, consider this move to be akin to putting their chips to the center of the table.

And (probably) nobody can blame the Cubs for such a bold move, even one that sees them shipping away their top prospect. After all, even as the Cubs look like a team that are built to contend for a World Series championship for the next few years, you always have to strike while the iron is hot. This year may end up being their best chance to break the iconic championship curse and thus you really can't fault them from swinging such a deal to help fill their biggest need by bringing in one of the top closers in baseball.

Now that is not to say that there isn't risk. First off, the Yankees got Chapman at a discount because of concerns regarding a domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend last offseason, one that resulted in him being suspended by Major League Baseball for 30 games. Second, Chapman is a free agent this offseason meaning that he could leave town and the Cubbies would get virtually nothing in return. And third, what happens if Torres turns into a star at whatever position he plays and/or the other pieces make out to be quality contributors? Will the trade have been worth it if it only turns into a rental for the remainder of the season?

But of course, if the Cubs claim the Commissioner's Trophy come October then nobody will care about the long term ramifications of this deal. Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing as a wise man once said. After all, we are talking about the Chicago Cubs. But that's just the gamble they are making right here.

For the Yankees, safe to say they made out pretty well. The market for closers is very strong right now and with the team hovering around .500, they have no need for a guy like Chapman if they are not poised to get into the playoff mix. Considering they also have Andrew Miller to dangle, a fine closer in his own right, the Yankees are poised to bring further reinforcements to their farm system that sorely needs them.

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