Did you hear that, Cubs fans? That heavy metallic clunk was the last piece of the championship puzzle being lowered into position — the 99.999% pure steel arm of Aroldis Chapman. The first thing I did when I heard the news was call my mother. I wanted to find out how old I was the last time I wet my pants. Yeah … I’m jacked … sorta … and I think this is a kind of a good move. Why? Cuz it’s about FRIGGIN’ time that Binny’s Beverage Depot had an actual reason to be the official champagne supplier of the Chicago Cubs.
You gotta admit, the Cubs appear to be teeterin’ on the edge of a Championship. We’ve led or been tied for the best record in baseball the entire season. Even without Schwarber, and with various injuries plaguing a variety of players, not to mention our coin-toss bullpen, the Cubs are still wearin’ the yellow jersey as the race to the World Series is comin’ outta the back stretch. (How’s that for mixin’ metaphors?! That’s like a metaphor salad, my friend.) Adding Chapman and movin’ Rondon to a set-up position means that Theo is pretty serious about roastin’ some billy goat in October.
Naturally, there’s a Mount Everest sized pile of second guessing goin’ on — everything from Chapman’s domestic violence history to what the Cubbies gave up to get the Usane Bolt of pitchers.
That’s fair. I mean personally, I have zero tolerance for guys with OJ tendencies, so tradin’ for one who was suspended for that very thing, AND it involved a gun … well … that’s a pond I don’t wanna fish in, pallie. Full disclosure — I’m uncomfortable about it. My hope is that Ricketts made it crystal-friggin-clear that crap like that won’t be tolerated. Of course if it happens again it’s already too friggin’ late. There will forever be a link between the Cubs desire to win takin’ precedence over steerin’ clear of a guy who smacks women around. 108 years is a long drought, but is this a gamble you wanna take to put an end to it? Except for the bullpen, we’ve got all the signs of waltzin’ into the Series and maybe winnin’ the damn thing … without Chapman. Besides, the Cubs have never been a “win at all costs” kinda franchise. (No shit.) Does this move forever change their soul; makin’ it as evil and black as the Yankees’ is? Can’t say I like havin’ to even contemplate that. Justification comes in the form of Chapman’s clean record since being reinstated, and sits defiantly under the flag of second chances Ricketts has hoisted. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Chapman improves the pen, thus the team as a whole. But at what cost to their reputation?
There’s also that whole “we kept him from goin’ to a team we might have to face in the playoffs” distorted mindset. That’s pretty Hillary Clintonesque logic. Doin’ somethin’ you don’t believe in, cuz if you don’t somebody else will, is the worst kinda political acrobatics there is. The last thing I want is for the Cubs to turn into the New England friggin’ Patriots.
The other thing that’s gettin’ batted around — and not in a nice way — is that we gave up Adam Warren, minor league outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford, and the jewel of the bunch, minor league shortstop Gleyber Torres (the top prospect in the Cubs organization) in exchange for a 2 month rent-a-closer. A lotta experts out there are treatin’ that like the Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan deal. Now that was a bad trade, pallie. But talent-wise, the Cubs are like Pacific Ocean deep across the board, so givin’ up prospects — even one with Torres’s potential — doesn’t leave me scratchin’ my head. Or anywhere else for that matter. It woulda been different had we made the deal with someone in our division, but we didn’t.
The main argument against this move (besides Chapman’s violent pinheadedness) is over aggregate value. A conservative estimate for a talent like Torres is that he’s worth 15 or 20 WAR in his first 6 seasons in the Show, while Chapman may be worth just 1 through the rest of this season. Before you even get to Warren, McKinney and Crawford, that makes this deal look pretty bad for the Cubs. But that’s a pretty stupid debate: 1) Torres is 19 and ain’t even in the big leagues yet, 2) WAR is a stupid way to measure closers, and 3) If Chapman can do his 105 mile and hour blind-the-hitters thing, and we win the Series partly because of it, who gives a flying Wallenda if we traded away the farm? The Chicago Cubs will have achieved the be-all end-all of baseball existence for the first time in 108 years!
So … was this a good trade? Was it money and players and conscience well spent? After last night’s bullpen-induced loss against the White Sox, I’m leanin’ in the “yes” direction.