Remember the rumors from the offseason suggesting the Los Angeles Dodgers were considering bringing Aroldis Chapman aboard to help fortify their bullpen? The fanbase, almost collectively, scoffed at the idea because of how bad the left-hander had been the previous two seasons with the New York Yankees.
In the end, Chapman signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Kansas City Royals in a clear move by the AL Central bottom-feeders to sell the left-hander before the 2023 trade deadline, which they already did!
Back on June 30, the Royals struck a deal with the Texas Rangers for Chapman, who has only dominated for his new team. Across six games (six innings), Chapman owns a 0.00 ERA, -0.05 FIP and 0.33 WHIP with 10 strikeouts.
In mid-June, Chapman was among our suggestions to improve the Dodgers' bullpen, but he was taken off the board over a month before the deadline. And all it cost the Rangers was a 17-year-old outfielder and a 25-year-old who had a 5.32 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 26 career games before debuting for the Royals in impressive fashion on July 15.
Still, though, that's essentially nothing for what Chapman could've offered in the short term (if the Dodgers truly want to buy at the deadline and contend for a World Series). LA's bullpen has largely been a disaster and, if anything, Chapman could've been another stabilizer alongside Evan Phillips.
Did Dodgers blow it by letting Rangers swoop in with Aroldis Chapman trade?
We'll be the first to say making a "trade deadline acquisition" on June 30 is borderline insane, but the Rangers felt they were ready to take the plunge and didn't want to be bogged down by everybody else rushing to the front of the line over these next two weeks. The Royals might've done themselves a disservice, in fact.
As for LA, they probably should've been doing some early homework themselves. The bullpen was in legitimate shambles in June, at one point ranking dead last in the NL (and only ahead of the Oakland A's in all of MLB). Injuries, regressions and inconsistency have plagued the unit since April.
Chapman might not have been the most appealing option, but there's not a lot to choose from. And the fact he's made a slight adjustment to his mechanics that's resulted in his success this year, the Dodgers should have been all over it if they were intent on fortifying their relief corps.
Things have turned around for LA this month. Through Monday's action, the bullpen sports a 2.22 ERA ... however, it's been a relatively easy stretch against the Royals, Pirates, Angels and Mets making up 11 of those games.
The bullpen has yet to prove it's no longer susceptible to scary collapses on a consistent basis. Andrew Friedman has time to make moves before Aug. 1, but the Dodgers might be looking back when all is said and done only to realize they were too slow on the draw for Chapman.