In Search of Late Inning Relief, the Dodgers Turn Their Attention to Flame-Thrower Aroldis Chapman
For multiple seasons now fans (myself included) have been begging for a true fix for the Dodgers bullpen. Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi worked hard last off season to clear out all the dead weight left by the previous management and helped to make the bullpen younger and more dynamic by promoting young right-handers Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez. However, the group still looked overmatched at times and the lack of depth (and firepower) at the back end of the pen was exposed.
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After years of waiting, the front office is poised to add at least one top reliever to the mix. The Dodgers have already been connected to set-up man extraordinaire Darren O’Day as well as Rays relievers Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee. Well Dodgers fans, you can add a new name to the list:
Chapman, the hardest thrower in baseball (they even had to implement a ‘Chapman filter’ on the leaderboards) is in the last year of his contract with the rebuilding Reds. When you join the dots, its easy why the Reds have made him available. Chapman was dominant once again this year, going 4-4 with a 1.63 ERA with 33 Saves and 116 strikeouts in 66.1 IP. Competition for Chapman is said to be fierce with the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, Nationals and Blue Jays all expressing varying degrees of interest.
Despite just having one year of control remaining the 4 time All-Star won’t come cheap. The Reds are supposedly taking aim at the return San Diego got for fellow closer Craig Kimbrel which included 2 notable top prospects. Kimbrel did however have an extra year of control remaining but the Dodgers will likely have to deal from their impressive crop of quality minor league arms to get any Chapman deal done – a price that could likely be too steep for the Dodgers.
With a star closer in Kenley Jansen already inked in for the 9th, it may be interesting to see how the Dodgers would reconcile such a situation. Both pitchers are eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.
Chapman is expected to be dealt prior to the Winter Meetings which begin December 7.