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The Cubs need relief help. Should they trade for Aroldis Chapman?

It’s complicated.

Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

The last time the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman, they won the World Series.

Okay, okay, I’m kidding, mostly. Obviously the 2023 Cubs are not the 2016 Cubs and “one more piece” isn’t going to make the difference. Plus, Chapman is seven years older and a lot of things are different about him than they were in 2016, when he was one of the most dominant relievers in the game.

But hear me out.

Chapman had a bad, and weird, year for the Yankees in 2022. He spent time on the injured list with an infected tattoo — and no, I am not making that up — and then got left off their postseason roster because he failed to show up for a mandatory workout.

So maybe this isn’t the kind of guy you want on your team?

Wait, hear me out.

Chapman signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Royals for 2023, and there haven’t been any accounts of odd injuries or bad behavior with Kansas City this year. It’s clear that the Royals, who at 9-31 are saved only by the A’s from being the worst team in baseball, signed Chapman to trade him if he pitched well.

And in general, he has done so. In April he posted a 1.74 ERA and 0.871 WHIP with just three walks and 19 strikeouts on 10⅓ innings. May... well, so far, not so good: 8.31 ERA, 2.077 WHIP in five appearances. Most pitchers go through bad stretches; perhaps this month (those five appearances come in 14 Royals games) is one of those for Chapman.

Chapman can still bring it at 100 miles per hour. Here’s his pitch chart from this year:


Look at the movement on this 103 mile per hour pitch on which he struck out Willy Adames [VIDEO].

The Cubs don’t have anyone who can do that. Plus, they could use another lefthander in the pen.

What would it take to get Chapman? The Royals owe him a bit less than $3 million for the rest of this season. The Cubs could easily take on that money (it’s about the same as what they’re paying Michael Fulmer). Given Chapman’s age it probably wouldn’t take much of a prospect or two in return — perhaps a couple of A-ball lottery tickets.

Trades like this aren’t usually made in mid-May, but the Cubs could use the relief help now and clearly, even with reasonably good outings, Chapman isn’t helping the Royals win, though they are 8-8 in games in which he’s appeared.

I think I’d do this. The Cubs have a good enough clubhouse that they could take on a player who can be controversial at times, and of course David Ross was his teammate in 2016, so there’s some familiarity.

What say you?


Aroldis Chapman...

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    ... the Cubs should trade for him in a deal similar to the one proposed in the article
    (222 votes)
  • 7%
    ... the Cubs should trade for him, but it will cost more in terms of prospects
    (49 votes)
  • 56%
    ... the Cubs should not trade for him
    (357 votes)
  • 1%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (7 votes)
635 votes total Vote Now