The Cincinnati Reds appeared to have taken another step toward rebuilding their franchise by trading closer Aroldis Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Dec. 7, as reported Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. But as of Thursday morning, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported the Dodgers "have moved on from Chapman."
Rosenthal noted at the time the Dodgers planned to send two prospects to the Reds in return for Chapman.
However later that day, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, citing sources, reported the deal wasn't done yet, adding that "multiple teams could be involved." Sheldon clarified that "others could be in the mix" to land Chapman. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com added the Reds were telling teams they hadn't agreed to trade the closer to Los Angeles.
Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports later reported the reason the trade didn't go through was due to the discovery of an incident when Chapman "allegedly fired eight gunshots in the garage of his Miami-area home following an October argument with his girlfriend in which she told police he 'choked' her and pushed her against a wall." No arrests were made, per Brown and Passan, who obtained the police report.
Reds President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty later said any trade involving Chapman could take "several weeks," per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who added a trade with the Dodgers isn't dead.
Chapman's name has been floated as possibly being available dating back to last offseason, when Rosenthal claimed the Reds were looking to cut approximately $17 million from their payroll.
As the trade deadline approached last summer, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported the Reds were "examining offers" for Chapman while adding it wasn't clear if the team was inclined to push through on a deal. Nothing ever came of those rumors, but Chapman was the one big domino Jocketty needed to fall after dealing Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals and Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants last July.
At the general manager meetings in November, Rosenthal wrote the Reds were "finally" serious about their willingness to trade Chapman, and he relayed an enlightening quote from Jocketty about where the franchise stands heading into 2016: "We still wanted to be somewhat protective of our club last year. We had certain guys we just didn't want to move. We started at the deadline knowing that we would gear up—'16 would be a transition year, and in '17 and '18, we think we could be stronger and more competitive."
Chapman has one more year of team control before becoming a free agent. However, that one season will probably come at a steep financial cost, as Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com estimated Chapman can earn $12.9 million in his final season of arbitration.
While that is an expensive price tag for a reliever, Chapman is also one of the few closers who can completely transform a bullpen.
He has been as dominant as any reliever since making his MLB debut in 2010. The flame-throwing left-hander posted a 2.17 ERA with 546 strikeouts in 319 innings in his first six seasons.
The 27-year-old was more erratic in 2015 than in previous years, with a walk rate of 4.5 per nine innings, but his stuff remains just as good, as evidenced by his nearly 16 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.63 ERA.
Stats and contract info courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.