Aroldis Chapman will be returning to the Cincinnati Reds shortly to shore up the back end of the bullpen. With the most electric arm in all of baseball, Chapman will surely bring excitement and success to the role of closing out ballgames. He will convert saves and strike out batters, both at high rates. He will be one of the best closers in baseball.
And that is exactly why the Reds should trade him.
Walt Jocketty should spend the rest of the month of May and the first half of June showcasing the skill and (most importantly) health of Chapman. Doing so would provide proof of health to playoff-caliber teams in need of a closer; teams such as the Oakland Athletics,who have blown seven out of 12 possible opportunities.
Why trade Chapman? After all, he does have the best arm on the team.
The reason being the massive haul the Reds would collect in return for the Cuban Missile. A trade involving Chapman would allow the Reds to receive one of two possible scenarios – a host of top prospects (such as the ones the Reds traded for Mat Latos) or another all-star player in a one-for-one trade. Each scenario would depend on if the Reds are in seller’s mode or buyer’s mode. A Chapman trade for prospects could help replenish and reload a depleted Cincinnati farm system. However, a one-for-one trade could net the Reds the power-hitting bat their lineup is void of currently.
Jonathan Broxton, meanwhile, continues pitching lights out as the current closer of the Reds. The success of Broxton makes Chapman a luxury – an expendable luxury. Chapman will soon be a free agent, and he will command an annual double-digit salary as well. With a load of pitchers in need of extensions on the team (Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake), the Reds simply will not be able to afford Chapman.
The time is right for the Reds to improve their roster, and trading Chapman will do that for them.