With the MLB Trade Deadline less than a week away, the MLB rumor market is packed with potential deals that could have huge impacts on the 2016 playoff race. Already, some teams have begun to make moves, shoring up weaknesses in their current roster, or acquiring new young talent that will hopefully mature into superstar talent down the road.
The Chicago Cubs, who are reportedly in talks with the New York Yankees about acquiring closer Aroldis Chapman, acquired Seattle Mariners’ reliever Mike Montgomery last Wednesday in an attempt to bolster their bullpen. Montgomery provided some much needed diversity in the bullpen: prior to his arrival, Travis Wood and Clayton Richard were the only left-handed hurlers in Chicago’s bullpen.
Chapman, a lefty, would only go to further this diversity, and would provide a more seasoned and experienced arm than Montgomery, who is in his third Major League season. Chapman is currently in his seventh year in the MLB, his first with the Yankees after six years with the Reds, and has posted a career 2.16 ERA in 350.1 innings in the bullpen. In 2016, Chapman has made 31 appearances, posting a 2.01 ERA and notching 20 saves in 21 attempts through 31.1 innings of work.
He may have a smaller sample size this year after missing the first 30 games of the season for violating the MLB’s domestic abuse policy, but I don’t think any team would argue that Chapman can bring the heat on the mound. According to MLB.com, his average pitch speed this year is just a tick above 100 mph, and currently holds the record for the fastest recorded pitch in the MLB, at 105 mph.
The Cubs also acquired Joe Nathan on Sunday, showing just how much they prioritize getting their bullpen to a higher level as we near August. Nathan made just his second appearance in as many years yesterday, going a full inning against the Brewers and picking up his first win since 2014.
The Cubs’ bullpen hasn’t been horrible this year, but it certainly hasn’t performed the way a top five team in the MLB would want it to in 2016. The current bullpen as a whole (discarding Nathan and Montgomery, who both have just one appearance with the team) combines for a 3.28 ERA, and is 18-for-26 in save situations. Regardless of what Chapman’s role in the bullpen is, if the deal goes through, he’s sure to provide a much-needed left-handed option from the bullpen.
On the other side of the proposed deal, the Yankees would acquire single-A prospect Gleyber Torres. Torres, a shortstop, is the highest ranked prospect in the Cubs organization, and is the number 15 prospect nationally according to ESPN’s Keith Law.
This deal will depend a lot on how the Yankees feel heading into August. They’re in a strange state of limbo right now where they aren’t realistically out of the playoff hunt in the American League, but they are 7.5 games behind the Orioles in the division, and 4.5 back of Toronto in the second Wild Card spot.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see this deal wait a while longer just to see if the Yankees begin streaking one way or the other as the deadline nears. Regardless, if the Cubs are able to acquire Chapman, then the rest of the National League will need to beware The Cuban Missile’s return to the NL Central, this time with a World Series favorite.
The Cubs and Yankees have agreed on a deal. The exact players have not yet been released. Keep it here at The Game Haus to find out who!
Gleyber Torres, the #1 Cubs prospect according to MLB.com is in the deal.
The Yankees are also receiving Adam Warren. He was traded to the Cubs just last season.
Minor League outfielder Billy McKinney will also be in the trade. He is the Cubs #5 prospect according to MLB.com.
The fourth player is CF Rashad Crawford from the Cubs. He was playing at Advanced A Myrtle Beach.
Information from ESPN.com was used in this report.