After trading away Justin Wilson and Adam Warren this offseason, the Yankee bullpen was not looking good apart from star relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. The loss of Wilson and Warren, who were worth 3.7 WAR combined last year, seemed like it would be deeply felt in 2016.
Fear no more as the Yankees have acquired star closer Aroldis Chapman from the Reds in exchange for minor league pitchers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham and minor league infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. Cotham and Renda likely won't be missed much. In 2015, Cotham, a fifth round pick in the 2009 draft, impressed in Triple-A, pitching to a 1.74 ERA (2.32 FIP) in 31 innings, but performed poorly in the majors, posting a 6.52 ERA (6.55 FIP) in 9.2 innings. Tony Renda, a second round pick in the 2012 draft, was traded to the Yankees from the Nationals for David Carpenter in 2015. With the Double-A Thunder, he performed to a triple slash of .270/.328/.372 in 73 games.
Starter Rookie Davis and third baseman Eric Jagielo are the biggest names going to the Reds in this trade. Davis, a 14th round pick in the 2011 draft, was ranked as the Yankees' tenth best prospect, according to MLB.com. In 2015 he pitched extremely well in High-A Tampa with a 3.70 ERA (2.22 FIP) in 97.1 innings. He continued his success in Double-A Trenton, pitching to a 4.32 ERA (3.21 FIP) in 33.1 innings pitched.
Going into 2016, Jagielo was ranked as the Yankees' number eight prospect by MLB.com. He was drafted in the first round of the 2013 draft and moved quickly through the minors. In 2015, he played 58 games in Double-A Trenton and performed to a slash of .284/.347/.495. Fans were beginning to get truly excited about this top prospect, but unfortunately he suffered a knee injury sliding into home plate in June 2015 and ultimately had to get arthroscopic surgery, keeping him out for the rest of the season.
While the Yankees did give up some top organizational talent, they received a star player in return. There is no arguing about Chapman's abilities; he is an incredible player. In 2015, he was worth 2.5 WAR and posted a 1.63 ERA (1.94 FIP) in 66.1 innings. He struck out 41.7% of opposing hitters, which translates to a 15.74 K/9. He is also known for his ability to regularly throw over 100 MPH, so expect to see some serious gas coming out of the pen next season.
The problem is, it's not likely Chapman starts the season in the bullpen, as he is probably going to face a suspension due to charges of domestic violence. In October, Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend and fired his gun eight times following an argument between them. He has denied all charges of hurting his girlfriend, but has admitted to firing his weapon. This baggage accompanying Chapman lowered the Reds' price to trade him, which is how the Yankees got him for the price they paid.
This is an interesting trade, as the Yankees gave up two legitimately promising prospects for Chapman, who will be a free agent at the end of 2016. That is, unless he misses more than 45 games due to his suspension. This would prevent him from completing six official years of MLB service time, which would keep him from becoming a free agent in 2016. Perhaps this is what the Yankees are hoping for with this trade. Regardless, we want to know what you think. Respond to the poll below with your thoughts on the trade and comment to let us know what you're thinking!