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Friday, June 30, 2023

Rangers get closer Aroldis Chapman in trade with Royals

The Texas Rangers, who have emerged as one of the most dominant teams in the majors this season, pulled off the first major trade of the summer on Friday, snagging perennial All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman from the Kansas City Royals.

Cole Ragans, a 25-year-old starting pitcher, and Roni Cabrera, a 17-year-old outfielder, were acquired from the Royals in exchange.

Chapman, a free agent at season’s end, will join fellow lefty Will Smith and right-hander Josh Sborz in the back end of the Rangers’ bullpen, forming a devastating mix late in games. The Rangers’ bullpen ranks 24th in the majors in ERA, but Smith and Sborz have combined for a 2.71 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 4.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 30, 2023 at 10:08 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: aroldis chapman, rangers, royals

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   1. Zach Posted: July 01, 2023 at 01:20 AM (#6135655)
I don't get this for the Royals. They sign Chapman as a reclamation project, then trade him for a swing starter and a 17 year old lottery ticket? Why not just sign a swing starter in the first place?
   2. Zach Posted: July 01, 2023 at 01:28 AM (#6135656)
No objection to Ragans, but the only payoff for signing Chapman is that you can trade him for prospects if he shows he's got his old stuff. The 29 innings pitched are nice, but I doubt either side expected or wanted him to finish the year in KC.

How does that make sense if the return is a 25 year old rookie with a 5.92 ERA?
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 01, 2023 at 10:05 AM (#6135665)
The price for rentals isn't what it used to be, but yea, this seems light. I think they sacrificed upside for MLB-readiness, which is dumb. The Cubs got more for a similar reliever rental in David Robertson last year, getting a higher upside AA arm in Ben Brown.
   4. The Duke Posted: July 01, 2023 at 11:26 AM (#6135667)
I thought the trade market would start early. If you have a lot of players to sell, you need to stage it. And for buyers, the deadline is so late, you'd like to get the bought assets.

I don't know how this could be a bad deal for Texas. There has to be at least one guy in their bullpen worse than him
   5. Zach Posted: July 01, 2023 at 01:15 PM (#6135688)
The passivity of contending teams in this era is amazing. An impact reliever is being traded for pocket lint and sawdust, and nobody tried to steal the deal away by throwing in an ashtray peanut.
   6. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 01, 2023 at 02:11 PM (#6135693)
If you're trading for Chapman hoping to get a legit closer, those days appear to be gone - the last three years, his walk rates have exploded. But he hasn't allowed a HR this year, and he strikes out over 50% of the guys he doesn't walk, and there aren't a whole lot of guys who can do that. He's owed less than $1.9m for the rest of the year, with no commitment beyond 2023.

If this is the cost of getting Chapman, then:

1) Other teams shouldn't get too excited about the return on their rentals;
2) Other teams should call Kansas City today to see what else they're looking to move;
3) Like Zach says in #5, why contending teams don't take more swings like this earlier in the season confounds me.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: July 01, 2023 at 04:30 PM (#6135711)
Maybe he's one hell of a 17-yo? Gleyber was only 19.5 when he was traded for Chapman but already around #40. Seven years later (time flies) and you'd be happy to get a 17-yo Gleyber who is of course very unlikely to turn into a 19-yo Gleyber much less a 26-yo one.

2) Other teams should call Kansas City today to see what else they're looking to move;

Well, there is a reason KC is giving the A's a run for their money. The only position players worth having are either still young and cheap or franchise icon Sal Perez. Matt Duffy could be a useful bench add. There's nothing on the pitching side ... really, nothing unless you want to find out for yourself how Amir Garrett could have given up 20 hits, 18 walks and 2 HR in just 22 innings yet have a 154 ERA+. OK, reliever Carlos Hernandez has good peripherals (2.67 FIP) but not a good history plus he's not even to arb yet so they have no incentive to move him.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 01, 2023 at 06:11 PM (#6135717)

2) Other teams should call Kansas City today to see what else they're looking to move;

Scott Barlow should also be on the trading block. He actually has a year of control beyond this year.
   9. BDC Posted: July 01, 2023 at 07:35 PM (#6135732)
It's hard to say. Cole Ragans has barely pitched in the majors (64 innings). He's a late-first-round draft pick, has done well in AA and AAA, not well in ML. He's 25, but he's a left-handed pitcher and under control for a while yet.

The Rangers have stockpiled a number of guys like that of late, and I'd gotten the impression that every organization must have bunches of them, but as Walt says, Kansas City … I was looking at their AA and AAA rotations, and they are much lower prospects who have been terrible in the minors. So they've got to restock somehow, and a few months of Chapman, even making much less than he once did, is maybe not worth more than a restocking item or two.
   10. Zach Posted: July 01, 2023 at 08:08 PM (#6135736)
Being 25 with no sustained major league success is a much stronger indicator than being a first round pick in 2016.

Control of guys like this is worth very little because you're looking at two or three years being in and out of the major leagues before he gets established -- if he does at all. Until he can command regular playing time, he's just an expense.
   11. Zach Posted: July 01, 2023 at 08:15 PM (#6135738)
Ragans and Cabrera are fine as throw ins. But Ragans is not a sure bet to hold down a major league job throughout his controlled years, and Cabrera is 17 years old.
   12. Froot Loops Posted: July 01, 2023 at 09:04 PM (#6135765)
Lest we forget, Chapman was a free agent this off-season and signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal with one of the worst teams in baseball. Anyone could have had him for lunch money. He's had a nice half-season, but as Balboni points out, it's not much different from his last couple of seasons except without a homer allowed. If he's really figured out how never to allow a homer, then yeah, he's probably worth a nice prospect. If he hasn't, then not so much.
   13. Zach Posted: July 01, 2023 at 09:33 PM (#6135773)
Here's Roni Cabrera.

Maybe Walt's right and Cabrera's the headliner. Still don't love the idea of a centerpiece that's so far from the majors.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 01, 2023 at 11:03 PM (#6135793)
Chapman has been so good for a team playing .280 ball that he has been their 8th inning setup guy. He is walking 6 batters per 9 IP. He has some character questions. As Froot Loops pointed out, any team could have signed him to a reasonable deal for the season and didn't want him, why would they want to give up real value for him now?

   15. Zach Posted: July 01, 2023 at 11:43 PM (#6135796)
Because he's a lefty who throws 103 miles an hour and would be useful down the stretch and in the playoffs?
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: July 02, 2023 at 12:28 AM (#6135797)

Because he's a lefty who throws 103 miles an hour and would be useful down the stretch and in the playoffs?

He was a lefty who threw 103 MPH before the season started and he was only able to turn that into a one-year deal.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 02, 2023 at 12:44 AM (#6135798)
Reportedly, Chapman is ‘only’ at 99.4 MPH for his 4-seam fastball & 88.2 on the slider, but it’s good for a 43.4% strikeout rate. Seems like a reasonable risk for the Rangers.

   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 02, 2023 at 11:10 AM (#6135811)

He was a lefty who threw 103 MPH before the season started and he was only able to turn that into a one-year deal.

His velo declined significantly last year, that scared a lot of teams off.
   19. The Honorable Ardo Posted: July 02, 2023 at 01:07 PM (#6135813)
I saw a lot of peak 104 MPH Chapman. He's no longer a velocity unicorn - he pretty much tops out at 100 these days - but his slider has progressed over the years from "rudimentary" to "effective second pitch".
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 02, 2023 at 03:36 PM (#6135823)
Lest we forget, Chapman was a free agent this off-season and signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal with one of the worst teams in baseball.
While I agree that the suggestion that Chapman should have brought a much higher return is inconsistent with his free agent experience, Chapman is likely to earn some fairly significant bonuses. According to the link in #17, Chapman will get 312,500 for every fifth appearance between 35 and 55 outings, and $312,500 for every fourth game finished between 12 and 40 (he’s finished 9 so far). So, he’s on track to pick up another $1,563,000, and could receive ~ another million or two if the Rangers were to slot him into the closer role. Not huge money, but better than his guaranteed salary.
   21. kirstie819 Posted: July 05, 2023 at 08:45 AM (#6136030)
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