As you know by now, the Yankees have acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Reds in exchange for Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo, Caleb Cotham, and Tony Renda. What you've probably also heard is that the 27-year-old reliever is currently under investigation for domestic abuse charges that recently came to light. What you might not have considered until now, however, is that those allegations are the only reason the Yankees were even able to make a deal happen.
The Reds and Dodgers had previously agreed to a trade for Chapman, but when the domestic abuse incident finally came to light, LA backed out. It was a really funny joke because the general manager of the Dodgers is Andrew Friedman, the former Rays general manager who knowingly employed rapist Josh Lueke, criminal Matt Bush, racist Luke Scott, the troubled Yunel Escobar, and a host of other suspect characters. Friedman didn't care because when no one else wants the thing that you want, that thing becomes a lot less valuable and much easier to obtain, especially for a team that doesn't have any money.
It has a little bit of moneyball in it. Find what is undervalued, what no one is looking for, and get it. No one was looking for scum and villainy, so these pickups became under-the-radar and cost-effective and unorthodox. This is where it was all going to end up anyway. Then, things changed, MLB got serious about domestic abuse and how we punish non-baseball-related, off-field character issues. Under the new policy, MLB can conduct their own investigation into allegations and render a judgement completely independent to the judicial system. With no punishment guidelines, the resulting suspension could really be anything. After Jose Reyes got in trouble for the same issue a few months back, people assumed MLB would make an example out of him. Now that Chapman could be gone for a good portion of the season, now that he could pay for his off-field nonsense, he became less valuable and Friedman saw that.
Instantly, Chapman's value plummeted and he was rendered immovable. Now a baseball player with bad makeup could actually be punished for it and he wasn't such an undervalued commodity after all, leading his own team to want nothing to do with the best closer in baseball. They could have kept him, let everything play out, and then maybe trade him at the deadline after judgement had been rendered, but instead they decided to take a lesser package just to get rid of the PR nightmare that Chapman had turned into. This is where the Yankees came in, and it's the only place they could at this point.
Now that Hal Steinbrenner has no interest in spending money, Brian Cashman is forced to put a team together using scraps. He can't sign guys for the big bucks and he can't trade away the big prospects, so his hope of improving the team rests in finding deals. Normally, they would have no chance in landing Chapman, but as soon as the Dodgers-Reds trade fell apart, the Yankees swooped in and started up talks. From reading Cashman's comments on the trade, you can almost see as they all sat around in a room and put their common decency and morality on a scale and calculated how much lower Chapman's asking price would have to drop before they felt that adding a terrible human being was worth it. They found out how much lower and got their deal, they got the best closer in baseball for only two top 20 prospects and some filler, but what was the real cost?
What the Yankees proved, after years of dealing with steroid allegations and caring so much about their image, is that their morality can be subdued with the right kind of deal. Forget going out and signing David Price or Zack Greinke to a huge contract. If they hold out long enough and find a guy hated just enough (not too much, mind you), they can probably get him for cheap. I can't imagine that this is what moneyball was supposed to be about and it disgusts me that Brian Cashman would stoop this low all in the name of just doing his job. There's a lot of risk involved, but on paper it could be a great deal. Maybe Chapman is suspended long enough that they sneak an extra year out of him and he's on the 2017 team too, but is that really something to celebrate? At what point do I stop feeling dirty about it?
Don't try to tell me that what Aroldis Chapman did is as bad as doing steroids or that he deserves a second chance when he hasn't even fallen from grace yet. You can say that it's about what's on the field, but at a certain point, it isn't just about baseball for me. Sometimes humanity has to come first.