Back when there were no charges field against star closer Aroldis Chapman, our own Anthony Irwin wrote that the lack of charges ultimately didn’t change anything as far as the Los Angeles Dodgers were concerned. He was right.
Recently, as in today, Bleacher Report featured columnist Rick Weiner listed the Dodgers passing up on a Chapman trade was the “number two mistake” of the offseason so far.
Here’s an excerpt from Weiner:
But from a baseball perspective—and only from a baseball perspective—it was a huge mistake.
If you’re going to look at it only from a baseball perspective, then, sure, it seems like a mistake. However, you can’t just look at this from a simple baseball perspective. There’s levels to it.
With the pressure on Los Angeles to deliver a championship—and division foes Arizona and San Francisco having made significant improvements—not making this move could prove to be far more costly for the Dodgers than the public relations mess it may have caused.
It’s hard to agree with this. Yes, there’s pressure on the Dodgers to deliver a championship. But it’s not as if the Chapman move alone would have swung the title pendulum even further to their side. And it’s hard to agree that the “public relations mess”, as he called it, is less costly than not making the move.
When you factor in the mess that this would have created, perhaps not making the move was the right call. The team is already going through a similar situation with Yasiel Puig, although not nearly to the same extent as Chapman’s incident, and another log thrown on the fire is never a good thing in this instance.
Maybe the Dodgers could have survived the brand blow a Chapman trade would have caused, but maybe not. You never know until it happens. As it happened, though, the team opted to not go through with the trade, and there’s little to suggest it was a mistake.
Looking at it from just a baseball perspective ignores the fact that this wasn’t just about the baseball perspective. Other issues were at play. And the team wanted to avoid the other issues.