Remember way back in the day, when the Dodgers were still interested in Aroldis Chapman and it looked like the super bullpen was still possible? Feels like years, not weeks ago, doesn’t it?
Then, the alleged domestic violence incident became public and the narrative became about how the Dodgers should/must send a message that they are above acquiring players with such questionable personal backgrounds. Weird thing is: those loud, raging voices have been awfully quiet now the the New York Yankees have actually acquired him.
Buster Olney wrote a scathing column about how the Dodgers, despite mounting pressure should pass on Aroldis Chapman. Here’s what he had to say back then.
But what the Dodgers should’ve done Tuesday, and what they can still do today, is slam the door on any more conversations about acquiring Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, and they should do it loudly.
It’s a strong take that I don’t even disagree with. Truth be told, I’m glad fans won’t have to root for this alleged monster, whose girlfriend hid in the bushes as he fired gunshots in his garage (again, allegedly).
Where I take issue is with the silence we’ve seen from Olney today, after the Yankees actually acquired Chapman. Earlier in December, the column was written at a time when, by most reports, the Dodgers were backing away from the negotiating table. While it’s still early and one very well might be coming, I’ve yet to see Olney’s praising the Dodgers for passing completely.
There was also the Jeff Miller column, but enough has been said on whatever he was going for there.
Cashman acknowledged that “serious issues” are in play with Chapman after acquiring him on Monday, and that the potential public-relations fallout is a “concern.” But strictly from a baseball perspective, the acquisition cost for Chapman was so modest that it would have been unimaginable before news broke of his domestic-violence incident, and even more unimaginable at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, which is when the Reds should have traded him.
Rosenthal also called the move a “neat trick” which makes it sounds as if the Yankees gamed the system in some fashion when, really, they pounced on a situation because other teams placed morality as a higher priority than Chapman’s fastball.
The Yankees traded for Chapman on Monday for one quite logical reason: Because it was too good a deal to pass up, even if he winds up starting his Yankees career on a suspension of anywhere from 30 to 60 days.
This was a simple case of the Cincinnati Reds holding a fire sale on a player whose value they apparently feared was about to plummet even further, and the Yankees scooping up a bargain.
“Scooping up a bargain”? Really?
I’ll put it this way: Had the Dodgers renegotiated with the Reds at Cashman’s “modified” price point, based on the clamoring at the mere idea of trading for Chapman, they would’ve been accused of taking advantage of a domestic violence incident.
What the Yankees are doing is no different, but for some reason (and I’ll let you speculate about east coast biases or the Yankees guiding narratives in baseball just like the Lakers do in basketball) the headlines nationally are night and day compared to the fairly easy stance taken by most of “domestic violence is bad.”
Domestic violence is no less-violent than it was less than a month ago, but the stories written are praising the Yankees for Chapman’s eventually availability after his suspension for, you know, beating his girlfriend and shooting a gun in his house.
It’s not all bad. ESPN’s Keith Law
will undoubtedly be suspended for wrote about how the Yankees are sending a poor message by taking advantage as they have.
But Chapman has been accused of domestic violence, and if an MLB investigation finds those charges have merit — even if the evidence might not support a criminal case against him — Chapman shouldn’t throw a pitch for the Yankees in 2016. Commissioner Rob Manfred has a few cases in front of him now, including this one and the Jose Reyes incident, in which he can set a precedent for future domestic violence cases, and he needs to drop the hammer.
If I were a general manager, I would have zero interest in having a player who has either committed or been accused of domestic violence or sexual assault on my roster, regardless of his talent.
Thank you, Keith. Thank you.
I’m not one to ride a high horse. The fall from those is long, painful and rarely one many are willing to pick you back up from. I’ve already said I’m much more on the side of passing on Chapman than acquiring him, but the elephant in the room was always that some team would trade for him because of his immense talent. This is the line teams and fans alike must straddle as morality plays a larger role in the sports we watch.
To me, the larger story is the apparent double standard evident in the coverage of this entire ordeal. One second, the national media is up in arms because the Dodgers might make a move; the next, they’re congratulating the Yankees on the incredible value they acquired the same person at.
From a personal perspective, the move is a public relations disaster. In terms of what he adds to a baseball team, the move makes a ton of sense. Both can be true, and all fans should expect of those covering the deal is to mention both issues, regardless of the team making said trade.