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Reds trade Aroldis Chapman to Yankees; creates uncertainty for fantasy owners

Ray takes a look at the fantasy impact of the Reds-Yankees trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees for four minor leaguers.

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Well the Reds finally traded closer Aroldis Chapman yesterday after a trade to the Dodgers a few weeks ago fell through due to Chapman's very serious off-field issues that could lead to him being suspended to start the 2016 season. In return, the Reds received four minor leaguers from the Yankees, headlined by third base prospect Eric Jagielo.The four players the Reds received were third base prospect Jagielo, pitching prospects Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham and infield prospect Tony Renda.

The only name I heard of before this trade was Jagielo so that tells me the Reds didn't do so well in this trade, and their rebuild could take longer than expected. The price for Chapman obviously dropped in a big way after he was involved in a domestic abuse case involving his girlfriend, where it was reported that he strangled her and fired a gun eight times in his garage. Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated after the deal was announced that he got involved in trade discussions due to the fact that the price for Chapman had dropped to a level where he had to make a move.

Let's take a look at the fantasy impact of this trade, first the Reds.


Closer role

With the loss of Chapman, the closer role in the back end of the Reds bullpen is wide open. J.J. Hoover probably is the favorite at this point in the off season, as he was Chapman's back up last season and did save one game last season. He isn't the dominating reliever that Chapman is, as he struck out just under 20% of the batters he faced, but also walked just under 12% of the batters he faced, so he may not be long for the role.

Others that could get a shot at the closer role include Jumbo Diaz, Zack Weiss who saved 25 games in AA last season, or even starting pitchers Michael Lorenzen or Brandon Finnegan, assuming they fail as starters and can't get through an order three times.

Eric Jagielo, 3B

Our prospect team ranked Jagielo as their #6 ranked Yankee prospect in their Top 10 Yankee Prospects for 2016. Here is what they wrote about him:

#6 - Eric Jagielo (3B)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 23
ETA: 2017

Jagielo was having an excellent season at AA Trenton (.284/.347/.495 with 9 HR in 58 games) before a knee injury ended his season in mid-June. He was headed to the Arizona Fall League as well, but has not progressed as hoped and will not head out to the desert. There are open questions about whether Jagielo can stay at third base, or whether a move to first base will be needed. He has above-average power, and can provide value to fantasy owners if he ends up as a .240-.250 hitter with 20-25 HR power, especially as a lefty headed to Yankee Stadium.

I assume he will be the Reds third baseman of the future for now, but some prospect experts don't think he will stay at third base. Interestingly, here is what Reds President of Baseball Operations Walt Jocketty had to say about him after the deal, via Mark Sheldon's piece over at

"Jagielo is a guy we liked in the Draft," Jocketty said. "We could see him as a potential left-handed -- maybe utility guy at first and third -- for the first few years. He would definitely be a strong bat off the bench, definitely a solid hitter."

Not too encouraging, to say the least.

Rookie Davis, SP

Our prospect team ranked Jagielo as their #10 ranked Yankee prospect in their Top 10 Yankee Prospects for 2016. Here is what they wrote about him:

#10 - Rookie Davis (RHP)
Age on Opening Day 2016: 22
ETA: 2017

Davis split his year between High-A and AA, throwing a total of 130 innings with 129 strikeouts, 26 walks, and a 3.86 ERA. His performance was solid, and helped address some of the concerns about whether Davis can stay in the rotation long term or not. He profiles right now as a back-end rotation starting pitcher, capable of providing innings with decent statistics. A lot of his value for fantasy owners hinges on his ability to stick in the rotation, and a return to AA Trenton in 2016 will go a long way toward that end.

Davis may end up being the best prospect the Reds received in this deal, and here is what Jocketty had to say after the deal:

"Rookie Davis is a young right-handed starting pitcher we think will have a chance to be a starting pitcher in the next year or two with us," Jocketty said.

The other two players the Reds received from the Yankees, Caleb Cotham and Tony Renda, appear to be just AAAA./org guys and probably will have very minimal fantasy impact, if at all.

For more on the Reds fan reaction to this deal, make sure you check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.


The Yankees receive the most dominating relievers in the game in Chapman, and now possess a filthy back end of the bullpen with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. In 2015, they each struck out 40% of the batters they faced:

Chapman: 41.7 K%, 116 Ks in 66.1 IP

Miller: 40.7 K%, 100 Ks in 61.2 IP

Betances: 39.5 K%, 131 Ks in 84 IP

The three relievers own 3 of the top 13 FIP- among all qualified relievers in 2015, and will form the most dominating bullpen in the game, assuming the Yankees keep all three. But, the question for fantasy owners is: "who will close?".

My bet is on Chapman as he is the most dominating reliever in the game. Miller has already stated he doesn't care if he closes, so he could be the Yankees 8th inning set up man, with Betances pitching the seventh inning, and sometimes going multiple innings. Their bullpen can make up for a decent, but not good starting rotation.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman called Miller after the deal was announced to tell him his plan is to keep all three in the back end of their pen, but there is still the possibility that he could deal either Miller or Betances, and one couldn't blame him after seeing what the Padres received in return for three years of Craig Kimbrel and the Phillies received in return for five years of Ken Giles.

For more on the Reds fan reaction to this deal, make sure you check out Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.