Maybe you saw it. The Inside the ‘Zona 2015-2016 Offseason Plan came out on Wednesday. It included a few trades – two for relievers. Neither of those relievers was Aroldis Chapman even though he’s expected to be traded sometime in the next two weeks or so. The Reds are pretty determined to move him (and Todd Frazier and maybe some other guys) and the Diamondbacks had interest in him last year near the trade deadline. A deal was never worked out because, as you may remember, the Reds wanted a ton for their closer. The D-backs ultimately said “no thanks.”

But that was then and this is now. Time has passed. Chapman has thrown more pitches. Most of them were extremely effective. There’s no real reason to think he’s gotten any worse. But what he has gotten is closer to being a free agent. In July, he was about 1 1/3 season away from hitting the open market. Now he’s 1 season away. That would presumably lower what the Reds can ask for him. Back then, it was Brandon Drury, Braden Shipley and more. And even though you’d think that price would have dropped, it sounds like it hasn’t. As Nick Cafardo reported earlier this month:

The Reds listened to Boston’s pitch for Chapman but required more than the Red Sox offered for (Craig) Kimbrel, and the Sox weren’t comfortable going the extra mile for a pitcher who can become a free agent after 2016.

Oh hey, there’s a reference point for what the Reds want. They weren’t satisfied with Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen from Boston. Margot is a top-50 guy, Guerra is a top-100 guy. Asuaje is interesting and Allen has a chance. The Padres accepted this package, and even though Boston is on the hook for either $25 million over the next two years or $37 million over the next three, they get three years of team control on Craig Kimbrel instead of one year of control for Chapman. Considering the salaries (Chapman should earn $13 million in his final year of arbitration this year), Kimbrel looks like a better buy than Chapman, at least as far as I can tell.

Jeff Sullivan did the hard work on this over at FanGraphs last week. You should read that. But if you don’t, I’ll just let you know that he calculates the kind of surplus value that Chapman is likely to produce next season and and concludes that that value is worth, say, a prospect ranked in the 10-15 range in baseball, plus maybe a throw-in guy. This is far lighter than what the Red Sox gave San Diego. This would be, maybe, Braden Shipley or Aaron Blair. Maybe it’s Archie Bradley and another kind of relevant guy. This would not be Shipley and Dury or Blair and Drury or something similar.

The Reds aren’t being reasonable – at least that’s how it appears. Arizona does need relief help, but paying Cincinnati’s price, as it stands now, doesn’t sound like a good idea. There are other guys on the market that they can target who’ll cost less and offer more team control. Deals for A.J. Ramos and Will Smith in the Offseason Plan are a couple of examples of that. Maybe they’re light and you have to add more than we’ve suggested. At least in those cases you’re getting two or three years of control, not just one.

That’s why we didn’t trade for Aroldis Chapman. Yes, he’s elite, but that doesn’t mean that he the right guy for Arizona. There are presumably other options available, or who could be made available, that will give them upgrades at a reduced cost and provide them more control. Maybe it’s not the big splash that will resonate with the fans (Woo-hoo, Will Smith! Oh wait, not the actor…), but it is the baseball-smart type of move that provides quality without a blatant overpay. The Diamondbacks can’t afford that.

Tagged with:

7 Responses to Double Plus: Why Not Trade for Aroldis Chapman?

  1. Rick D says:

    Agree. Way too much to pay for any closer, especially one who’s going to pitch for a year and then disappear. And how good were the Padres with Kimbrel last year anyway?

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Exactly. If you’re going to use him traditionally, then you’ve gotta be in a place to win the game to start with. That’s why the rotation is the priority.

    • ruminator says:


      • ruminator says:

        Cherington built the best farm in baseball and the Red Sox are knee deep in prospects but building takes time and both the Sox and Cherington paid dearly for it. Back to back last place finishes was a new experience for the Nation but Ben was loathe to part his farm and it cost him his job
        “way too much for any closer” is from your perspective and “how good were the Padres with Kimbrel last year anyway?” is irrelevant.
        After much suffering the Sox are a lot closer than people realize and you may remember this post next September. I trust you know how they hit in the 2nd half (without Hanley and with no bad Panda-wink) but you probably don’t know the rotation morphed too (no small accomplishment with the bad/worst bullpen-wink) and, as constituted, the 2nd half Sox would give most teams more than they could handle but the bullpen was the No 1 offender
        On paper, Kimbrel for prospects was a no brainer and if he pitches to norm it’ll be brilliant. I’ve see so many ‘can’t miss’ prospects never produce I’ll trade potential for proven talent when there’s a need without looking back and I won’t speculate how many losses Kimbrel will prevent or how many wins he’ll add but it’s a big number and the Red Sox are coming my friend. Price is in house but forget about him. I’m after Chapman. That’s how I ended up here

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well i can imagine how badly they want to trase with us. Wouldn’t surprise the whole brito blair Shipley lamb ender peralta getting a lot of offers. Towers montgomery maybe underrated

  3. Dave-Phoenix says:

    I know 103 MPH fastballs are sexy, but don’t get caught up in the hype. This is way too much for a one-year closer…

    Save all your money and prospects to upgrade your starting pitching instead…

  4. ruminator says:

    Very much enjoyed reading this article and want to offer my compliments to Jeff Wiser.. anonymously and looking for nothing in return (wink).. it’s a spiritual thing. Good luck Arizona

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.