Much has (rightfully) been made about the Dodgers passing on the move from the standpoint of Aroldis Chapman’s off-field issues and the public relations backlash that would probably land on the doorstep as a result of the move.
What’s gone somewhat overlooked, however, is how it would’ve affected the rest of the team — namely, Kenley Jansen.
Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times complimented the Dodgers for not making the trade for reasons strictly on the field. Here’ what he had to say about how Jansen viewed Chapman’s potential arrival.
The Dodgers were in a different situation than the Yankees. If they’d gone through with the deal, they would have had both Jansen and Chapman pitching in their final season before becoming free agents. That’s an awkward situation, and one Jansen was reportedly – and understandably – not happy about.
There was a ton of speculation about how Jansen and Chapman would handle pitching side by side in the bullpen in walking years. If this is Dilbeck reporting on how Jansen felt, even fans willing to overlook morality would agree the Dodgers might be better off.
(It’s important to note that I hadn’t seen any such reports of Jansen’s malcontent. This of course doesn’t mean it was never an issue, only that I never saw it.)
Before the news of Chapman’s alleged domestic violence incident went public, Jansen and Chapman’s potential relationship was a popular criticism amongst those who didn’t like the trade. Recent evidence has spoken to the contrary on money relief pitchers are making, regardless of their role, but alas — narrative lives on.
Dilbeck also brings up Yasiel Puig and his own domestic issues (which was somewhat odd as there was little to no mention of Chapman’s). Both players are under investigation by MLB on their respective cases, which would obviously be a distraction as the Dodgers try to succeed in a much tougher division than last year.
The column is interesting to say the least, and if the Jansen report is true it’s certainly noteworthy. All things considered, Chapman appears to have been a poor fit on several levels.