Several months ago, trading four non-essential minor leaguers for Reds flame-throwing closer, Aroldis Chapman, would have been cause for celebration in Yankeeville. Instead, the news yesterday that we are now the team that “took” Chapman, whose value dropped considerably after his domestic violence incident scared off the Dodgers and Red Sox, among other teams, made me a little sick.
MLB is investigating exactly what happened at Chapman’s house in FL when he supposedly choked his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots into his garage, just like the NFL has been investigating their domestic violence cases that seem to crop up every time I read the sports pages. However MLB rules on the case, Chapman is likely to face a suspension as a Yankee, which is lovely, isn’t it?
Cashman’s thinking, according what he told reporters, is that a rock-bottom price for the obviously messed-up-in-the-head Chapman made the deal too irresistible to reject, giving the Yankees the best bullpen in baseball. Betances in the 7th, Miller in the 8th and Chapman to close? Or Betances in the 6th and 7th with Chapman in the 8th and Miller closing? However it breaks down, what Cashman acknowledged is that our existing starting rotation (no, we’re not getting a new starter – bummer) doesn’t give us innings, so we needed a stronger bullpen to shut things down early.
But here’s what Cashman didn’t say to reporters: character doesn’t matter. Remember when that wasn’t the case? In recent years, when we acquired Curtis Granderson, the headline was that he had character as well as talent. Even the A-Rod situation had a happy ending when he seemed to go from steroid cheat to upstanding citizen. But this? Do we really want a guy who fires a handgun multiple times, despite the attractive “price point,” as Cashman put it?
Our GM admitted that there’s risk involved in the deal, and part of that risk involves the fans – female fans, especially. We’re not wild about guys who push their women around.
Maybe Chapman will serve his suspension on our dime, get counseling and become a paragon of virtue. I applaud second chances and the opportunity for redemption. I like young pitchers who throw 103-miles-an-hour and are four-time All-Stars too. So we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I can’t get excited about this deal, not in the way the Yankees hoped I would.