Dodgers rumored to be battling natural rival for volatile closer Aroldis Chapman

Adam Weinrib
Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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Outside of one teeeeeeeeny, tiny misstep where he sent both Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa to the Giants (kind of right, if you count Arson and a fully-healthy Correa!), former Cleveland All-Star Carlos Baerga has turned himself into a reasonably successful MLB insider this offseason.

Baerga's latest triumph was diagnosing the Rafael Devers extension talks with the Red Sox; he had the exact figures as nearly finalized just a few minutes before Bob Nightengale followed up and credited him. The Red Sox offseason turned on a dime with Baerga as a central figure. Who'd'a thunk it?

Which leads us to Baerga's latest bit of reporting on Thursday afternoon -- his whipped cream topping on the Devers extension, if you will.

Per ... whatever sources Baerga uses, the market for former Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman appears to be heating up, with the Dodgers fighting with the Padres over which NL West team is best equipped to help the Cuban flamethrower bounce back.

The question now remains: is the real winner of this sweepstakes actually the loser?

Dodgers Rumors: LA, Padres circling Aroldis Chapman (per Carlos Baerga)

All the optimism surrounding Chapman's on-field performance at the start of 2021 when he developed a new splitter was undone when he ... whew, boy ... how much time do you have?

2022 was an outright disaster for the 34-year-old in the Bronx (who turns 35 years old on Feb. 28). Chapman posted a 4.46 ERA/4.57 FIP last year, as his control-free blowups turned more frequent. Despite brief bouts of competence, he ultimately walked 28 men in 36.1 innings and missed over a month with a leg infection brought about by an infected midseason tattoo.

When it came time for a supposedly-healthy Chapman to make his case for inclusion on the Yankees' postseason roster at the end of the year, he ultimately demanded a guaranteed spot, then fled to Miami and skipped workouts when he wasn't provided one.

This is to say nothing of the Domestic Violence Policy suspension that led to his reduced trade value (and the Yankees swooping in) prior to the 2016 season. Chapman is far from an upstanding citizen, and as the Dodgers seek to rid themselves of Trevor Bauer's presence, gleefully importing a nearly-beyond-saving Chapman would feel like a waste of time and energy.

If the Padres would like to try, though, more power to them.

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