Last month, I promoted the idea here of the Cubs trading with the Royals for Aroldis Chapman.
Before the team’s 2023 season slips into disaster, Jed Hoyer & Co. should do this right now — and add another reliever who the Royals apparently want to trade, Scott Barlow. At least, that’s what Levi Weaver and Ken Rosenthal wrote at The Athletic:
One club that spoke with the Royals interpreted the team’s desire to attach Chapman to another player as an indication it wanted to move its highest-priced asset, catcher Salvador Perez. But a more realistic package would be Chapman and fellow reliever Scott Barlow, a source said.
Chapman, 35 is earning $3.75 million this season on a one-year contract. Barlow, 30, is earning $5.3 million and comes with an additional year of control for any team that would be willing to offer him salary arbitration.
A team that acquired both could instantly transform its bullpen. Chapman, a lefty, is holding opponents to a .556 OPS; Barlow, a righty, is holding them to a .613.
The Cubs don’t need Salvador Perez. But they do need quality relief pitching and Chapman and Barlow could provide that right away.
Chapman’s had a handful of bad outings but overall his season has been decent: 2.95 ERA, 1.359 WHIP, 35 strikeouts in 21⅓ innings. (That’s 14.8 K per nine innings, which is about Chapman’s career average.)
Barlow, a righthander, has toiled in obscurity in Kansas City’s bullpen since 2018. He has a career 3.14 ERA and 1.206 WHIP in 261 appearances, with 347 strikeouts in 287 innings (12.9 per nine innings). This year, he was made KC’s closer after Chapman was temporarily removed from the role and has seven saves with one blown save (and the latter was in April). Overall he has a 3.52 ERA and 1.174 WHIP with 33 strikeouts in 23 innings.
The two are being paid a combined $9.05 million this year, we’re a little more than a third of the way through this season and so that would be about $6 million, more or less, owed to the two of them for the rest of the year. The Cubs can afford that.
If I’m Jed Hoyer, I get on the horn with J.J. Picollo of the Royals right now and make an offer to take those contracts. Now, I would certainly not part with any top prospects for Chapman and Barlow, but a couple of mid-range minor leaguers, the proverbial “A ball lottery tickets,” might get it done with the Cubs picking up all the money owed.
The Cubs need bullpen help, and they need it now, before this season goes completely down the tubes. Chapman and Barlow could provide that.
Would you do this?
The Cubs should go to the Royals and...
This poll is closed
... trade for both Aroldis Chapman and Scott Barlow
... trade for Chapman only
... trade for Barlow only
... not trade for either of the above
Something else (leave in comments)