Sep 18, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcherAroldis Chapman
(54) pitches in the ninth inning to pick up a save against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. The Reds beat the Brewers 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
2015 Stats: 33 saves, 1.63 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 15.74 K/9
This is the big prize for any team considering dealing for a closer. The flame-throwing right-hander led the majors in strikeout rate for the third straight season and the .527 OPS that he limited opposing hitters to was 5th best among closers.
Chapman’s arbitration price is starting to get expensive, as he’s due a raise from the $8 million he made this year. The Cincinnati Reds have been rumored to be considering exploring offers for him, as he is one of their few significant trade chips that could both bring back a hefty return and ease their payroll. It will take a lot to get him, with at least one blue chip prospect leading the package going to Cincinnati, but Chapman is worth it. He’s still cheaper than Kimbrel and won’t reach free agency until after the 2017 season.
The question regarding trading for Chapman is one that the Reds had struggled with in the past. Is Chapman a closer or would they be better served making him into a starter? He’s already one of the best closers in the game, so there is risk in toying with what works. There are some that feel that Chapman is too talented to be limited to the bullpen and that he’d be more valuable as a starter. It’s an option that hasn’t been ruled out for his future, but given the way baseball is trending toward teams building dominant bullpens, leaving him in a relief role may be what’s best for the Red Sox if they manage to acquire him.