Aroldis Chapman is perhaps the best reliever in baseball over the last several years. He’s helped the Cincinnati Reds shut down games since he joined the big league club in the second half of the 2010 season. He’s thrown the hardest pitch ever recorded in baseball and he’s throwing so much harder than everyone else that MLB.com actually had to install a “Chapman filter” on the leaderboard for fastest pitches thrown because the entire first page was only Aroldis Chapman fastballs. He dominates in a way that no other pitcher in the game dominates.

For as good and as dominant as he’s been, the current state of the franchise suggests it’s the time to move him. He’s set to become a free agent after the 2016 season and the Reds are not in the position to compete in 2016. A team that acquires him now will have the option to offer him a qualifying offer after the season, which he will decline to pursue a much larger deal in free agency, and give them a strong draft pick in the 2017 class. Trading him during the 2016 season takes that away, and would lessen the return, likely by a significant amount, for the Reds. That draft pick alone should be worth a quality prospect that falls inside of every Top 10 in baseball, and plenty of Top 5’s.

Then of course is the actual trade value outside of what the qualifying offer will bring. A team acquiring Chapman will be getting one of the best relievers in the game. If he’s not the best, he’s absolutely one of the three best in baseball. He’s going to turn any bullpen on a contender into a real weapon. History has shown us time and again that a lock down bullpen wins in the playoffs. Chapman will give that to you for the 9th inning. What is that worth?

We can start by looking at the package that the Red Sox just gave up for Craig Kimbrel, who along with Chapman, is inside of that “top three relievers in the game” circle (along with Wade Davis). The Red Sox gave up Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen. Margot and Guerra were the big gets in this deal. Margot is viewed as a Top 50 prospect in baseball and Guerra as a likely Top 100 prospect in baseball. Logan Allen is just 18-years-old, but signed for 2nd round money out of the 2014 draft and dominated in limited action in 2015. Asuaje is more of a utility type of player who is close to helping at the big league level, but doesn’t have much upside.

Kimbrel is under contract for three more seasons, giving him more trade value than that of Chapman. So there are going to be some differences in what to expect, but based on the value given up to acquire Kimbrel the Reds should be asking for a Top 50 prospect in baseball as well as at least one other upside kind of player who may still be a few years away from helping the club, along with a third player who may project better as a utility guy or a reliever that’s close.

43 Responses

  1. Tom Gray

    The Reds last traded a closer with results like Chapman was in 1989. Johnny Franco to Mets for Randy Myers.

    I’d want one MLB ready player, one almost MLB ready player (AAA), and one or two MiLB prospects (AA or A).

    • RDriesen

      The last thing I care about in any trade, but especially when we stink is how close a player is to the ML’s. I want the best players we can get.

      • Tom Gray

        Trading Chapman for 3 or 4 guys in A ball would be a wasted asset.

      • Tom Gray

        Reds seems to agree with my POV:

        … Cincinnati is seeking young players in the zero-to-three-year service range or prospects that are nearly Major League ready …

      • Doug Gray

        There’s nothing wrong with seeking guys ready to step in today. But it’s also not a waste to acquire guys who aren’t ready to do that today if you land the right players.

      • RDriesen

        Would your rather have an A prospect or a B or C? Get the BEST PLAYERS possible. And I wouldn’t be bragging about the the Reds agreeing with you. If the Reds think one thing, I want the opposite.

      • Tom Gray

        Red Reporter article (clipped) says:

        … Reds management has made it know they’re looking for young, near-MLB-ready pieces in any Chapman trade, and the Dodgers have that in spades …

  2. JBonireland

    Don’t know who they are really talking to but the Astros would be one logical guess so I would think that for Chapman and a competitive draft pick I would think that someone like Preston Tucker and a 15-25 pick from their 30 top prospect list would be reasonable. Tucker fills the requirement of a major league ready bat and we might get a higher pick if say we we to include one of our many pitching prospects.

  3. dale

    1 #1 pick and 1 other top 10 pick. Maybe a 3rd scrub player who has major league time but a league minimum sort of a guy. Aroldis will get a new contract with whoever takes him on. I would also imagine that that talks stop for good about him being a starter once he leaves the Reds.

  4. Logan Boyle

    Here’s what I want: Reds-Astros

    In return for Chapman, Reds get:

    #1 Prospect SS Alex Bregman (#21 on MLB.com’s top 100, but blocked by Carlos Correa so HOU may give him up)

    #19 RHP David Paulino (upside)

    #24 OF Andrew Aplin (4th OF type)

      • Logan Boyle

        Okay then, backup plan:

        #3/4 OF Daz Cameron/Kyle Tucker

        #10/12 3B Colin Moran/JD Davis

        #28 RHP Jandel Gustave

      • dale

        It that is the case then why not also bundle in Frazier and go for 1 or 2 additional farm pieces. If Houston is wanting to win now while the iron is hot they will do it.

    • Norwood Nate

      If the Reds want Aplin, they can probably draft him in the Rule V. He’s eligible, and so far the Astros haven’t added him, after adding several other names today.

      • The Duke

        I like the walk rate, but there is almost no power. If he could stick in CF it’d be a nice pick.

      • Norwood Nate

        Yeah, there’s virtually no power, and in the PCL that’s especially concerning. But…he did start 86 games in CF last year and the on-base skills are apparent. On top of that he’s a lefty, which makes him an platoon option for Duvall/Rodriguez and even Hamilton who has struggled even more from the left side of the plate.

        But in general, I was simply stating that if the Reds wanted to add Aplin, they could do it without having to work out a trade.

    • CJ Red

      If you are going with Houston, the return should be 1B/OF AJ Reed and SP Mark Appel. Both are at AAA and would be ready mid-2016 or for 2017.

      • The Duke

        AJ Reed won’t stick in the OF and we don’t have an opening at 1B. I don’t trust Appell either.

  5. The Duke

    This is what I would try to get from Houston

    OF Kyle Tucker
    RHP Michael Feliz
    3B Colin Moran

    That’s their #4, #6, and #10 prospects according to MLB.com. That’s leaves their #1 in Breg n an to be the future SS, Correa moving to 3B makes Moran expendable, and Feliz isn’t their highest rated arm. I’d try to snag SS Nolan Fontana as well if I could. Maybe start negotiations asking for Bregman, Tucker, Feliz, and work down to the four I mentioned.

    • DaveCT

      Thinking that is too much for Chapman due to only one year being controlled. Perhaps if they extend him, however, Chapman and his people are no fools and will certainly go free agency.

      • The Duke

        Yeah, I think you’re right, that does seem a bit steep. I’m like a kid at Toys R Us around Christmas. “I want that one, and that one, and that one, and that one….”

  6. Kevin

    Let’s take it logically. He’ll probably go to one of these teams given needs:

    Astros, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Nationals

    The Reds desperately need hitters in the system, so these are those teams’ hitting prospects that are in the BA midseason top 50 (rank):

    Astros: None
    Yankees: Aaron Judge OF (13)
    Diamondbacks: None
    Blue Jays: Dalton Pompey (29)
    Nationals: Trea Turner (9)

    I think the highest probability is the Blue Jays with Pompey, so that they can put Roberto Osuna in the rotation. It also works because I think teams won’t be willing to part with a top 15 prospect, ruling out the Yankees and the Nationals.

    I’m not taking into account any top 50 guys that made into the top 50 between midseason and now.

  7. Logan Boyle

    Alright I just want to throw a hypothetical out there that nobody has really brought up. I was looking around and found that the Indians are a near perfect fit for Todd Frazier, due to their lack of a decent established third baseman, as well as Jay Bruce, as we all know that the Indians are pushing hard for an OF. But on top of that, I could see them being a surprise bidder for Chapman. They have a decent but not great closer in Cody Allen and the rest of the bullpen is pretty meh. Chapman would sure liven it up.

    Now, the Indians are looking to trade one of their MLB starting pitchers in a trade for an OF, but that’s not what I imagine the Reds would or should be interested in. Instead I wanted to go with a bit more of the upside factor.

    Of course, as with any blockbuster trade, there are some major roadblocks. First, the Reds seem hesitant to trade Frazier, but they really shouldn’t be, and that could change. Second, the Reds seem to want MLB-ready players, but I think the upside of my proposed package can make them re-think that. So without further ado, here is my proposed trade:

    Indians get: 3B Todd Frazier, RP Aroldis Chapman, RF Jay Bruce

    Reds get:

    #1 OF Bradley Zimmer (#26 overall, future RF, probably at least a year and a half more in the minors)
    #4 LHP Brady Aiken (debatably the highest upside of any MiLB player, big risk though)
    #6 LHP Justus Sheffield (high upside, a few years away, small for a starter but could be a dynamic reliever if that hinders him)
    #10 SS Erik Gonzalez (comparable to Cozart I think, could be UTIL)
    #27 RHP Shawn Armstrong (ready for MLB bullpen immediately)
    #28 3B Yandy Diaz (not too much power as of yet, but solid avg, good fielding, and could play at some point in 2016)
    #30 OF Greg Allen (far away, but could be a solid bench player)

    Now I know that there’s a chance I gave the Reds either way more or way less than they deserve for those players, but pretty enticing, isn’t it? It would surely give them a top 5 farm.

    • dale

      I like this. Perhaps this would give us a top 5 farm system as well.

  8. Krozley

    I like Moran and Preston Tucker and maybe one other lesser prospect with a high ceiling for Chapman.

    • Scott from upstate NY

      Agreed, I would be satisfied with a swap starting with Tucker & Moran, plus a piece equal to the compensation pick they’ll end up getting.

  9. Norwood Nate

    Can anyone give me one reason to be excited about Blake Wood? Why waste a MLB spot on him?

  10. Hoyce

    I too thought tucker and Moran.
    I’d like to see Frazier to red sox for moncado. Maybe have to throw another prospect in to even it out
    And food for thought votto and 10million$ to bluejays for Travis, collabello and maybe Pompey. Once again adding players to even it out (Hoover and BHam)

  11. Randy in Chatt

    Houston: Derek Fisher (can play CF in a pinch w/ his speed but arm not as strong–definitely can play a corner); A.J. Reed in case they do trade Votto, freeing up some serious cash and that lefty reliever that can throw 100mph. Don’t think Houston will trade their top 3. That gives us two good hitters and a lefty for the pen that could be potentially dominant.

  12. Mj

    Great article Doug love the posts here as well similar articles with Frazier,bruce etc. would also be fun. Thanks doug

  13. Dan

    I like the Kyle Tucker, Michael Feliz, but I would also want 3B JD Davis and RHP Joe Musgrove, even if we have to kick in a lower prospect, especially since they will receive a pick next year

  14. DanD

    Here are my thoughts that I would like to see the Reds do :

    Todd Fraiser going to the Indians:
    1) Zimmer,Fraiser or Naquin
    2)Kaminsky or Sheffield
    3)Triston McKenzie
    4)Luke Wakamatsu

    Jay Bruce and an cash to the Mets for Brandon Nimmo

    Brandon Phillips to the Yankees for Jacob Lindgren

    Chapman to the Astros for

    1)Preston Tucker or Fisher
    2)Moran
    3)Teoscar Hernandez
    Or

    to the Dodgers
    1)Jose Peraza
    2)Grant Holmes
    3)Scott Schebler
    Or

    To Arizona
    1)Blair, Shipley or Their Cody Reed
    2)Drury
    3)Socrates Brito
    Or

    To Toronto
    1)Pompey
    2)Vlad Guerrero
    Or

    To Washington
    1)wilmer Difo
    2)Erick Fedde
    3)Victor Robles
    Or

    To the Yankees along with Phillips for
    1)Judge
    2)Eric Jagielo
    3)Ian Clarkin
    Or

    To Miami
    1)Ozuna or Yelich
    2)Austin Dean
    3)JT Riddle or Casey Soltis

    • Hoyce

      I believe chapman to Astros makes most sense, but to Miami for ozuna makes a lotta sense too

    • RedsFaninPitt

      In some of these trades, I think you are overvaluing Chapman and Frazier.

      • JBonireland

        It just seems that some of he posters on here are expecting to much for Chapman. We’re not going to get any one’s number 1 prospect for one year of Chapman and a competitive draft pick. Walt generally seems to over value the Reds players. This trade needs to get done soon before other teams needing closer’s look somewhere else. But then maybe he will pull another rabbit out of the hat like he did with Cueto and the three good prospects we got.

      • Doug Gray

        I think you can get a #1 guy from a system. Maybe not all systems, but some of them? Yeah, I think you can swing that.

  15. Clammy

    I read where Fontana and Teoscar Hernandez were both left unprotected by the Astros; as well as Alpin.

    • Norwood Nate

      Initially Alpin was left unprotected, but they DFA’d LJ Hoes and added Alpin last night.

    • Jasonp

      Not sure who else there will be to take in the rule 5 draft but I like that Andrew Aplin. .284 career minor league batting average and a .385 career OBP. Also has stolen 20 bases or more 5 strait years. Split time in aa and aaa last two years. First year hit 260 the next 275 in aaa.

      He doesn’t have any power and not sure if he could ever be a starter but I think he would be a great #4 or #5 outfielder for the next 6 years for us. If we trade Bruce off maybe he gets enough at bats to see if he could be a starter.

      • Jasonp

        Well posted a little to late. There goes that idea. Ignore my last post.