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MLB Trade Rumors: Buzz Surrounding Aroldis Chapman and Top Players Available

Daniel Kramer@dkramer_Featured ColumnistDecember 12, 2015

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman reacts after closing the ninth inning of a resumed baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Cincinnati. The game was resumed in the top of the eighth inning after it was suspended Sept. 11 due to rain. The Reds won 4-2. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

The MLB hot stove continues to simmer well after the winter meetings ended Wednesday. 

The free-agent market continues to remain fluid—apropos the Chicago Cubs’ splash signing of Jason Heyward on Friday—though teams continue trade talks with plenty of potential moves that could continue to shift the competitive landscape. 

Here is a look at the latest buzz heading into the post-meetings weekend. 

Despite investigation, Reds still trying to trade Aroldis Chapman

The Cincinnati Reds’ trade of closer Aroldis Chapman with the Los Angeles Dodgers was a done deal until news surfaced that the hard-hurling lefty had been involved in a domestic violence incident that prompted MLB to launch an investigation into the incident. 

The Dodgers have since moved on and are now pursuing other options, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, leaving the Reds in possession of damaged goods—with a possible suspension looming. 

Yet despite MLB’s probe, teams are still in contact with the Reds about a possible deal, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports:

One reason: A lengthy suspension could result in an extra year of team control over Chapman, who currently is on track to accrue the necessary six years of service by the end of the 2016 season.

No trade is close, but clubs are allowed to pursue Chapman while he is under investigation, sources say.

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Chapman is among the game’s best closers, but the Reds are desperate to rid themselves of the four-time All-Star, as he has just one year remaining on his current deal and will likely command a figure well out of their price range next winter.

However, that’s if he reaches sufficient service time, which is 138 days this season on an active roster or disabled list, per Rosenthal and Morosi. MLB would not credit him time under a suspension for domestic violence. 

Cincinnati was in a similar situation last year with the looming departure of ace Johnny Cueto, who remains on the market and has rejected a deal of $120 million—well outside the Reds’ budget—from the Arizona Diamondbacks, per Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.

The Reds would get less from a trade for Chapman at this juncture, but as Rosenthal and Morosi noted, “They might be so motivated to move him, however, that they would accept a lesser return."

Rockies listening to calls on outfielders

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 25:  Charlie Blackmon #19, Carlos Gonzalez #5, and Corey Dickerson #6 of the Colorado Rockies celebrate a 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers after a game   at Coors Field on September 25, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dusti
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Colorado Rockies have long been trying to deal powerful outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, but they have also been fielding calls for Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Crasnick noted the Kansas City Royals are in the market for outfielders with both Alex Gordon and Alex Rios on the free-agent market, and Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star noted Gordon’s return appears doubtful:

Andy McCullough @McCulloughTimes

Not a shock, but after five days of conversations here, it still sounds quite unlikely the Royals win the bidding for Alex Gordon.

Joel Wagler of FanSided made a case for why the defending champions should make a run at Gonzalez.

"Even if you account for the Coors Field inflation (he hit 24 of his dingers at home), he still offers more power than most of the current Royals," Wagler wrote. "A good chunk of those homers will turn into doubles at Kauffman [Stadium], but he would fit into what the Royals like to do."

Injuries hindered Gonzalez in 2012 and 2013, but he totaled career highs in home runs (40) and games played (153) in 2015. 

The Royals reached the promised land by developing their remarkable farm system, and the Rockies will ask a lot for the eight-year outfielder, who is owed more than $37 million the next two years, per Spotrac.

If the Royals were to part with a sizable chunk of their prospects, they would remain favorites in the American League by adding a formidable force like Gonzalez to their lineup.

Cubs remain active in pitching market

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

The Cubs have added Heyward, utility man Ben Zobrist and right-handed pitcher John Lackey—but they aren’t done yet. 

Chicago is reportedly seeking another starter, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, to supplement its already-remarkable rotation that includes reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Lackey. 

Morosi reported talks are already underway with a pair of clubs for the Cubs' would-be No. 4 spot:

Jon Morosi @jonmorosi

#Cubs have had trade dialogue with #Padres (Tyson Ross) and #Indians (Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar), sources say.

As Muskat noted, the Cubs still have plenty of chips to offer to solidify their rotation, such as outfielder Jorge Soler and infielder Javier Baez. 

Baez seems to be the more logical move, as the Cubs infield appears set with Anthony Rizzo at first base, Zobrist at second, Addison Russell at short and NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant at third.

Parting ways with Soler would be more costly—at least for now—as Chicago only has Heyward and Kyle Schwarber to man the outfield. 

The Cubs are already the favorites to win the World Series, per Odds Shark, but team president Theo Epstein and company are well aware that adding another arm in their rotation would give them more assurance come October.

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