Monday, July 25, 2016

A Trade That Leaves Me Feeling "Chapped"

The reports of a potential deal started making their way across the Twitter-verse yesterday evening and it appears as though the final deal is now official - today, the Chicago Cubs have acquired a player by the name of Chapman with a questionable legal history:

No, no - wrong Chapman!

That's the one.  A little levity for a morally-conflicting situation.

As far as baseball goes - this is a fairly sensible deal and emblematic of the kind of blockbuster trades that go down near the trading deadline.  The Cubs gave up a good amount of minor league talent for a proven talent that makes their team better in the immediate future.  Sure, several years down the road it may look like the Cubs gave up too much; however, prospects are prospects and, no matter how highly touted, can still bust and "he of 105mph fastballs" is arguably the best closer not named Mariano Rivera in recent history.

Here's what the Cubs gave up:  Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and MAYBE a PTBNL

Gleyber Torres is a bonafide blue chip prospect and, there's no way around this, losing him hurts. The Cubs top prospect has done nothing but produce since he came over from Venezuela in 2014.  That said, you have to give up quality to get quality and Torres is still at least three years away; we can't keep all of the prospects.  Not to mention, the Cubs middle infield is potentially set for many years to come with both Addison Russell and Javier Baez likely around for the long haul.

As for Warren and McKinney, I'm not too broken up about losing them.  Warren has not been helpful coming out of the pen this year and is a replaceable asset.  Meanwhile, McKinney has yet to unlock his power potential and has not been great this year.  Add in the fact that the outfield is already a logjam and he's Rule 5 eligible this off-season and it makes sense to dangle him as trade bait.

Of course, the Cubs would trade Billy the day after I picked up this 2013 Leaf Memories single as a "just in case he makes it" card for my CATRC.  My first card from the rebooted Leaf brand and it features Wrigley as a backdrop, which he'll only ever see again as a visitor.  I jinxed him.

Anyway, from a purely baseball standpoint, I can understand the move.  However, losing Gleyber for a rental player stings, you have to give up quality to get quality.  Where this deal truly starts to get conflicting for me is when we consider Aroldis' character issues.

On a more minor scale, Chapman has a poor history with some current members of the Cubs clubhouse (especially Anthony Rizzo), owing to a head-hunting incident in Cincinnati that occurred a couple of years ago: 

Hopefully, everybody can be professional and put the past behind them.  These kinds of things happen in baseball and sports in general.  After all, Dennis Rodman became a Bull after years of being a bully in Detroit and things worked out okay there.

That's not the real issue though.  Of course, what truly gives me pause about this major acquisition is the murky circumstances surrounding the off-season incident where he was accused of beating his girlfriend and firing several shots into the wall of his garage.  Ultimately, he was not charged of any legal wrong doing; nevertheless, he earned himself a lengthy suspension to open the 2016 season.

I guess we'll never know for sure what happened that fateful night, but after having to deal with Rey McDonald (briefly) as a Bear and Patrick Kane's tangled web over the past few years, I was really hoping my favorite franchise would keep their hands clean.  This team really doesn't need another Milton Bradley.

His domestic violence rap is absolutely horrific

In the end, I guess he's "served his time" for the incident and all we can do is pray that it was an isolated incident.  Furthermore, should any other issues of similar nature crop up, I hope that Theo and Co. drop him faster than a hot potato, a la the Bears and the aforementioned McDonald.

I won't be buying a Chapman jersey anytime soon; but, I suppose I can cheer for the jersey that he's wearing when he pitches this summer.

Anyway, facts are facts and Aroldis is now a Chicago Cub, meaning he must be represented in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection.  After digging through my stack of Reds, I have several contenders for that spot:

The non-refractor (or whatever Panini calls it) version of the Prizm you saw at the top of the post and another logo-less Panini offering under the Donruss banner.

Here we have his 2011 Topps Rookie Card, which features an excellent framed snap shot of Chapman in the middle of his windup.  I truly like how the name-banner and the pitching mound both arch at nearly the same degree.

Some more Topps Flagship offerings that spotlight Chapman's selection and appearance in the 2013 All-Star game and close up, zoomed in ugly pitcher's face.  You can see right up his flared nostrils on that 2014 single.

Finally, I also came across his card from last year's edition of Archives.  Here, a questionably framed shot ruins an otherwise perfectly acceptable spring training shot - why did we not zoom out a couple of ticks and not crop out half of the ball?

In the end, I think I' going to stick with the refractor-y Prizm card as Chapman's representation; what can I say, I'm a sucker for shiny cards.  It doesn't really matter anyway - you know that Topps isn't going to let this big of a blockbuster go unrepresented in the Update series, so he'll have a card as a Cub soon enough.

And so, that's my long-winded, meandering post about Aroldis Chapman becoming a Chicagoan.  In summation, the Cubs gave up a lot to get a lot and fair prices are pretty much never payed at the trading deadline.  But, I still don't particularly care for the guy as a human being, so I'm feeling pretty conflicted about the deal.  I just wish I could truly be excited about this kind of velocity coming out of my team's pen:



  1. Hopefully works out for both sides.

    4th player is Rashad Crawford. I guess he isn't much of a prospect.

  2. Well written. Hope we'll be singing Go Cubs, Go in October/November. If not, ... ugh.