The Yankees and Cubs agreed to a deal to send closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in exchange for four players, both teams announced on Monday. The deal had been in the final stages since Sunday and will land Adam Warren, top prospect Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford in New York.
From the Yankees' standpoint, Torres is the prize of the deal. As for Chapman, he's of course an elite, shutdown closer. The 28-year-old lefty with the career ERA+ of 183 is eligible for free agency this coming offseason. For 2016, he's owed the balance of an $11.33 million salary. Chapman's start to the 2016 season was delayed because he was suspended under baseball's domestic violence policy.
Both Chapman and the Cubs addressed the issue with statements on Monday after the deal was made official.
"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," Chapman said.
"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," added Chapman.
Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts released the following statement:
Obviously, we are aware of the circumstances surrounding Aroldis Chapman's suspension earlier this season. We are also aware that he cooperated fully with the league investigation and takes responsibility for his actions.
Today, prior to completing the trade, Theo, Jed and I spoke with Aroldis. I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field. Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.
Finally, my family, this team and Major League Baseball take the issue of domestic violence very seriously and support efforts to reduce domestic violence through education, awareness and intervention.
Here are seven things you need to know about what's going on right now for both the Cubs and Yankees with regard to this deal:
1. The Yankees are apparently rebuilding
Following a seemingly never-ending supply of should-they-or-shouldn't-they pieces, it appears the Yankees will rebuild this deadline after all -- at least to some extent. The prospect they're reportedly trying to get in return (more on Torres later) isn't going to slot into the New York lineup anytime soon. This means the Yankees (and their fans) will have to show patience that they normally lack. We'll see if the Yankees take the thousand-yard view on their other trades, but the days of instant gratification could be over in New York ... well, until we get to the winter, anyway.
As for what's ahead in the near-term, it may depend on how the next few games go ...
#Yankees plan is deal Chapman, play next 4-5 days, see if make inroads in race. If so, will go for it. If not, Miller, Beltran, etc in play— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 25, 2016
2. Chapman makes the Cubs terrifying
Chapman has pitched well since returning from a suspension stemming from firing his gun following an argument with his child's mother. In 31 games, he's posted a 2.01 ERA and 5.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's also notched 20 saves and nearly 13 strikeouts per nine innings. The Cubs entered Sunday with a middle-of-the-road bullpen, so adding an elite closer could conceivably give them a top-10 unit. Another one, that is, joining their rotation, offense, and defense. Yeah.
As for Chapman's signature tool -- his fastball velocity -- it's been better than ever lately ...
Most pitchers start leaking velocity almost as soon as they reach the majors. Chapman, however, has boasted mega-elite gun readings for his entire career, and there's no reason to think that will change any time soon.
3. Torres is a legitimate prize
Torres, 19, is hitting .275/.359/.433 in High Class A. He was recently ranked the 27th best prospect by Baseball America and the 34th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. Torres' combination of three potential plus tools -- with power being his lone substandard one -- and polish makes him an intriguing piece. It's unclear who else the Cubs might be sending to the Bronx, but Torres seems like a good start to the Yankees' rebuild.
4. The rest of the Yankees' haul is good but less impressive than Torres
That stands to reason, of course, as every multi-player package has one player who's the most promising of all. Adam Warren is of course a former Yankee who struggled during his time with the Cubs. Still, he's a potential asset, as he's 28, under team control through the 2018 season, and capable of starting or working out of the bullpen.
Billy McKinney is the other notable. He turns 22 in August and is a speed, glove, and gap power outfielder in the mold of Brett Gardner. The Cubs originally acquired him from the A's, and he was a consensus top-100 prospect coming into 2016. However, he's struggled badly this season for Double-A Tennessee, especially in terms of power. What happened? It's possibly his slow recovery from a knee fracture he suffered late in the 2015 season. He has on-base skills but his ability to hit for average and power at the big-league level is left to question.
As for Rashad Crawford, he's a 22-year-old former 11th-rounder who can play center. He has speed on the bases, but he owns a career OPS of .674 and is yet to play above High-A.
5. Chapman sounds like he's headed for free agency
As noted above, Chapman is eligible for free agency at the end of the current season. While this deal was taking shape, there was some talk that the Cubs were trying to work out a contract extension with him, but thus far that hasn't come to pass. On that front, this is worth noting ...
The #Yankees were interested in engaging in contract talks with Chapman, but with 3 months before free agency, he wanted to wait.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 25, 2016
If Chapman was indeed bent on testing the market while in New York, then it seems likely he'll remain bent on testing the market in Chicago.
6. The Yankees almost chose another top prospect over Torres
The dirty from Joel Sherman, who paced a lot of the reporting on this story ...
Speaking of Eloy Jimenez, the 19-year-old is thriving this season at Single-A South Bend (.322/.360/.504 with 10 homers and 29 doubles in 89 games) despite being significantly younger than his peer group. That's impressive power, especially on an age-adjusted basis, but Torres has offensive upside in tandem with an ability to man an up-the-middle position. Jimenez, meantime, will be confined to an outfield corner.
7. The Cubs don't seem inclined to part with Kyle Schwarber
Trade rumors have swirled about the injured young power hitter for some time, but the Cubs don't seem quite so amenable to such discussions ...
The Cubs have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young positional talent, and when that's the case you can afford to be selective. Sounds like we can put the Schwarber speculation on ice, at least for now.
8. This trade shakes up fantasy baseball landscape
How does this blockbuster trade impact the fantasy baseball world? Our very own Scott White provides instant fantasy reaction:
Unfortunately, the news isn't sneaking up on anybody. Even before the deal was fully consummated, [Andrew] Miller was owned in more than 80 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, so it's not like Rondon owners can turn to Miller as a replacement, at least not via the waiver wire. That said, maybe the Miller owner will be looking to cash in on his investment, especially since the left-hander may well be on the move himself, but to me, that's a non-issue. You have to think wherever he goes he'll be closing. He's the second-best reliever in all of baseball, after all, and in the discussion for the best in Fantasy.
Be sure to check out his advice if your fantasy team is involved. It appears as if Chapman's value doesn't change very much, but the door is now open for Miller with the Yankees.