The Reds traded closer Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers earlier this morning in return for two prospects, with pitching prospect Grant Holmes and infield prospect Jose Peraza rumored to be involved in the deal. At this point the prospects heading to Cincinnati have yet to be announced and the trade is pending physicals. This deal is a bit of a surprise as the Dodgers already own one of the more dominating closers in the game -Kenley Jansen. I thought for sure the Astros would trade for Chapman as they have the bigger need and have the prospects to make a trade work.
As a Dodgers fan, I like the deal for a few reasons. One, adding Chapman to the bullpen that already includes Kenley Jansen and Chris Hatcher, the Dodgers have their own version of the Royals and Yankee bullpen. The Royals have rode their dominating bullpen to two consecutive World Series, so it is no surprise that other teams are looking to match their performance with a dominating back end of the bullpen. Two, Chapman is a free agent at the end of the season, as is Jansen, so the Dodgers, who are looking to get younger and hoarding draft picks, will get another pick when Chapman declines his qualifying offer.
But, this deal causes all kinds of problems for fantasy owners. Who will close for the Dodgers? Both Jansen and Chapman deserve to close, but one will be the set up guy. I think that Jansen will be moved to the set up role, assuming he is not traded, with Chapman closing.
Update: Joel Sherman from the NY Post tweeted earlier that the Dodgers plan to use BOTH Jansen and Chapman in the closer role based on match ups. That's a big "UGH" for fantasy owners. (note: I don't have access to Twitter at work, so I cannot embed the tweet.)
Now, in Cincinnati, the closer situation is even murkier, as they don't really have a dominating set up guy to hand the closers role to. Last season, J.J. Hoover saw a few save opportunities, but do the Reds want to give the role to a pitcher who put up a FIP over 4.00 last season and gives up a home run every nine innings? Add in the fact that he barely strikes out seven batters per nine and he walks more than four batters per nine, and it is safe to say Hoover is not the answer.
Jumbo Diaz? He might be the favorite as I write this today, as he throws heat, getting his fastball up to 97 mph, he strikes out more than a batter per inning and walks less than three per nine. But, there is always a but, like Hoover, he is prone to the long ball, giving up 9 in 60.1 innings of work last season.
The Reds have other options as well, as they have several young starters, Michael Lorenzen or Brandon Finnegan, who could be dominating closers if they can harness their control. Diaz, Lorenzen and Finnegan are all speculative plays for the Reds closer role at this point, but we should learn more once the deal is announced and as we get closer to spring training.