A report from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggests that the Nationals have expressed interest in free agent closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman profiles as one of the top bullpen arms on the market alongside right-handed closer Kenley Jansen, and his list of known suitors includes the Giants, Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs.
Chapman drew interest from the Nationals at the 2016 trade deadline, but the Cubs gained an edge in negotiations after offering a package of prospects that included top talent Gleyber Torres. Over the final two months of the season, Chapman turned in a 1.01 ERA and 0.82 FIP in 26 2/3 innings with Chicago, decorating his efforts with 16 saves and a blown win in Game 7 of the Cubs’ World Series run.
While Chapman expressed his affection for the Yankees earlier this month, telling New York Sports Day’s Ray Negron that he’d “love to be a Yankee again,” competition for his services is expected to be fierce. He was previously reported to be seeking a contract in the five-year, $100 million range, which would be unprecedented for a major league closer.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.