UPDATE: Not so fast my friends. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon says the trade sending Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers has not been completed and other teams could still be in the mix
The details are sketchy, but perhaps when the identity of the prospects coming back from the Dodgers to Cincinnati wasn’t immediately reported we should have guessed that there was a hitch in the deal here. Updates as warranted, of course.
10:30: AM: The Dodgers may have some rotation questions, but their bullpen is suddenly looking amazing: Ken Rosenthal reports that Los Angeles has acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Reds for two prospects. The identity of the prospects is not known and the deal is pending medicals.
Chapman, of course, is the most dominant reliever in baseball, with a 2.17 ERA and 546 strikeouts in 319 career major league innings. He’ll be paid $8.05 million in 2016 and can then become a free agent. Since the Dodgers only have him for one year, one would assume the prospect package isn’t elite-level, but we don’t know yet. Jon Heyman reports that the prospects are NOT not Corey Seager, Julio Urias or Jose Deleon
Chapman will close for the Dodgers with Kenley Jansen setting up. That’s one crazy good way to close out games.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.