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Done deal: the Yankees acquire Aroldis Chapman from the Reds

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Jack Curry of YES Network reports and Ken Rosenthal and others confirm that the Yankees have acquired reliever Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds for four minor leaguers.

We weren’t expecting this.

A reason we weren’t expecting this or any move involving Chapman is that Chapman is under investigation by MLB for an alleged domestic incident in his home which involved gunshots and choking of his girlfriend. While no criminal charges were filed, the possibility of a suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy still hangs over Chapman’s head. Indeed, this investigation put the kibosh on a trade of Chapman to the Dodgers in early December.

All of which means that either (a) the Yankees are confident that Chapman will not face suspension; or (b) they are willing to take the risk. Which is perhaps less of a risk for them than for some other teams as they already have a solid bullpen with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances at the back end. Adding Chapman, even with the risk, would make the Yankees even tougher in the late innings than they already are. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post just noted, Chapman struck out 15.74 batters per nine last year, Miller struck out 14.59 per nine and Betances struck out 14.04. That’s the top three in all of baseball and now they’re together.

So, this could be a Royals-style Death Star bullpen or, alternatively, they could flip Miller or Betances for other needs.

The off-the-field stuff notwithstanding, Chapman is one of the game’s best relievers and is certainly its hardest thrower. He turns 28 years old in February and saved 33 games with a 1.63 ERA and a 116/33 K/BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings in 2015. Across parts of six seasons, Chapman has a career 2.17 ERA. He strikes guys out like it’s going out of style and routinely tops triple digits on the gun.

Heading back to Cincinnati are minor leaguers right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. Which is not exactly a bumper crop of top prospects, but given Chapman’s baggage it’s understandable that the price has gone down.

 

Mike Trout to undergo foot surgery

Mike Trout
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Angels star outfielder Mike Trout is done for the year, per a team press release. He’ll undergo surgery to remove the Morton’s neuroma in his right foot sometime over the next week, which will likely require a recovery period that stretches beyond the two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Trout, 28, has been day-to-day with a foot injury since the first week of September. On Monday, he underwent a cryoablation procedure to treat the neuroma on his right foot, but evidently requires further treatment to resolve the issue completely. Per manager Brad Ausmus, Trout ‘tested his foot by running’ on Sunday and found he was still experiencing too much pain to play, prompting his decision to undergo season-ending surgery.

This figures to be the first major setback Trout has seen since his thumb surgery in 2017, but there’s no reason to believe his current ailment will have any substantial effect on his 2020 season. Still, it’s an unfortunate end to another monster campaign by the eight-time All-Star and AL MVP contender, who will finish his 2019 season batting .291/.438/.645 with an AL-best 45 home runs, .1083 OPS, and league-leading 8.6 fWAR.