On Monday, the Cubs acquired closer Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees as part of a five-player trade. On Tuesday, Chapman faced the Chicago media for the first time. Let's just say his introduction to the press did not go well.
Predictably, Chapman was asked about last October's domestic disturbance case. Chapman, if you'll recall, was questioned about choking his child's mother. He later admitted to firing his gun six times in the garage of his Florida home. Somehow, Chapman was not arrested or charged. He was, however, suspended by baseball for the season's first 30 games under the new domestic violence policy.
Chapman returned in early May and pitched well for the Yankees. But he never expressed much regret for his acts until after the trade happened, when he issued this statement:
As you know, earlier this year I accepted and served a 30-game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions of October 30, 2015. I regret that I did not exercise better judgment and for that I am truly sorry. Looking back, I feel I have learned from this matter and have grown as a person. My girlfriend and I have worked hard to strengthen our relationship, to raise our daughter together, and would appreciate the opportunity to move forward without revisiting an event we consider part of our past. Out of respect for my family, I will not comment any further on this matter.
The Cubs, for their part, seemed convinced Chapman was a changed man. Theo Epstein said the two sides had a "heartfelt" conversation about off-the-field expectations. Joe Maddon even issued a lame excuse for his new closer:
Joe on Aroldis: "We've all been less than perfect." pic.twitter.com/euGtCWUpXq— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) July 26, 2016
So imagine Epstein and Maddon's reactions when Chapman claimed to not remember the talk a day later -- and yes, that's what really happened:
Chapman, through translator, says he woke up from nap when Theo/Ricketts called and has no specific memory re: off-field expectations talk.— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) July 26, 2016
Theo Epstein on Monday on the conversation Monday that Aroldis Chapman literally can't remember: "Aroldis was really heartfelt."— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) July 26, 2016
Safe to say, this doesn't look good for anyone involved: not the Cubs for seemingly overstating Chapman's sincerity and receptiveness to the message, and certainly not Chapman for seeing the whole thing in a serious light. As such, consider Chapman's first high-leverage outing with the Cubs to be a poor one.