Dusty Baker on the Aroldis Chapman allegations: “I don’t believe reports”

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NASHVILLE — Dusty Baker just spoke for his Winter Meetings media availability. Most of it was about the Nationals. Then someone asked him about one of his former players with the Reds, Aroldis Chapman. The same Aroldis Chapman who is alleged to have been involved in a domestic violence altercation with his girlfriend that involved eight gunshots, choking and a response by multiple police cruisers.

Baker admitted at the outset that he had not read Jeff Passan’s article at Yahoo which contained the actual police report. Based on that and that alone he may have been better-advised to have offered no comment and moved on. He didn’t, however, instead addressing serious allegations against Chapman by saying “I don’t believe reports,” suggesting that Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy “needs to go further than the player,” and that “[s]ometimes abusers don’t always have pants on.”

Rather than paraphrase, I’ll just offer up the transcript taken from the just-concluded interview, courtesy of ASAP Sports Transcripts.

Q. Dusty, you had Aroldis Chapman when he broke into the majors. What was that process like? Were you surprised by the report?
DUSTY BAKER: I don’t believe reports. Who knows why? I’m not one to judge on how the whole thing happened.

Q. What do you know about the guy?
DUSTY BAKER: Oh, he’s a heck of a guy. I mean, a heck of a guy. I’ll go on record and say I wouldn’t mind having Chapman. No, no, he is a tremendous young man with a great family, mom and dad, and what he went through to get here and what his family had to go through to get here. I was with him through the whole process.

There was a couple times when I had to stop him from quitting or going back to Cuba because he was lonely for his family. So I went through a lot of stuff with Chapman. I got nothing but love for the young man.

Q. Were you surprised by — I don’t know how much you read about the allegations.
DUSTY BAKER: I didn’t read it.

Q. Are you surprised that this popped up?
DUSTY BAKER: I don’t read most of the stuff you guys write. No, I don’t.

Q. I believe you. I didn’t know if you heard anything.
DUSTY BAKER: I heard it from my son. I mean, who’s to say the allegations are true, number one. And who’s to say what you would have done or what caused the problem.

Q. Dusty, do you believe that it’s a good thing that baseball now has a domestic policy?
DUSTY BAKER: Yes.

Q. Domestic violence policy?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah. I think it’s a great thing. I mean, I got a buddy at home that’s being abused by his wife. So I think this policy needs to go further than the player. I think the policy should go to whoever’s involved. Sometimes abusers don’t always have pants on.

I think we need to get them both in a room and try to come up with something. It’s a bad situation. That’s the first thing my momma told me when I was a kid. Don’t hit a woman, even my sister. Man, I was like you better leave me alone before I tell my momma.

It’s a bad situation. I learned that young, but a lot of people maybe didn’t learn that.

Adeiny Hechavarría rejoins Braves on one-year, $1 million deal

Adeiny Hechavarría
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On Thursday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the Braves and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarría reunited on a one-year, $1 million contract.

Hechavarría, 30, began the season with the Mets but was released in mid-August and joined the Braves shortly thereafter. He enjoyed more success in Atlanta, albeit in a smaller sample size. In aggregate, Hechavarría hit .241/.299/.443 with nine home runs and 33 RBI over 221 trips to the plate. More importantly, he provided versatility with above-average defense.

The Braves are banking on Hechavarría doing more of the same in 2020 as a backup infielder. He will spell Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Johan Camargo, and Austin Riley as needed.