The Cincinnati Reds traded Aroldis Chapman – the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball history – to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week, only they didn’t. The deal was held up after reports surfaced that Chapman was involved in a domestic-violence incident with his girlfriend in October.
Specifically, Chapman, 27, has been accused of choking his girlfriend, pushing her against a wall and firing eight gunshots in his garage in Davie, Fla., following an argument stemming from something Chapman’s girlfriend found on his cell phone.
Needless to say, these allegations changed the tenor of the deal.
“It’s changed it quite a bit, as you can understand,” Orange County Register writer Pedro Moura said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It doesn’t seem like anyone in Major League Baseball is going to want to trade for him in this state. The details of the incident are horrific – absolutely horrific-sounding – as alleged against Chapman. So the Dodgers don’t want to be involved in that. It’s incredibly interesting that they agreed to the deal and then found out about this. The timeline is interesting, but it allowed us a window into sort of what they want to do. With the money that they saved from not signing (Zack) Greinke, they then signed (Hisashi) Iwakuma and they can still afford to spend $15 million on a great reliever. It’s not inconceivable that a good starter and a great reliever could be better than Greinke in tandem.”
Chapman’s former manager, Dusty Baker, caused a bit of controversy at the winter meetings in Nashville on Tuesday, saying he supports baseball’s domestic violence policy but that he questions whether the reports are actually true. Baker, who was hired by the Nationals this offseason, managed Chapman for four seasons in Cincinnati and called him “a heck of a guy.” Baker added that he “wouldn’t mind having Chapman” and added “who’s to say what you would have done” in that situation.
“It made quite the effect, quite the effect,” Moura said of Baker’s comments. “So far, I would say he has been the most talked about manager or GM to speak here at the meetings because of what he said. It seemed, at best, not smart; and at worst, insensitive. It’s not enough for him to truly get in trouble, but it didn’t seem like the smartest choice of words to say in the wake of what’s been going on with MLB enacting a new policy and now the first enforcements coming pretty soon down the pipe.
“(But the reaction has come from) all sides,” Moura continued. “You hear people thinking that it’s just Dusty being Dusty. In his time in the ’90s, he said stuff that was more offensive to more people than what he said (Tuesday). And then you hear people thinking there’s no place in this sport for that kind of thing in 2015. It ranges the spectrum.”