Washington Nationals Editorial: Should the Nats Consider Trading for Aroldis Chapman?


Flamethrowing closer Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds is an attractive trade option on paper, but should the Nats hold out on acquiring the Cuban reliever amidst his domestic abuse accusations?

The Dodgers almost had him. Los Angeles and the Reds were reportedly in agreement to send Aroldis Chapman to the West Coast when both teams were blindsided by reports of an incident of domestic abuse involving the 100-mph throwing closer. According to Yahoo! Sports, Chapman allegedly fired off eights shots in his garage after choking his girlfriend and pushing her against a wall last October. However, the police were forced to close the investigation Tuesday afternoon, citing a lack of evidence due to conflicting reports from those involved as well no proof of any physical injuries.

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After the trade between the Dodgers and Reds fell through, reports surfaced of the Washington Nationals gaining interest in Chapman, despite the ongoing investigation being conducted by Major League Baseball that could result in a suspension. The Nats have been linked to him multiple times in the past, but no deal has been settled on between the two teams. As Washington is certainly still planning on trading at least one of the two between Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen, there is still room for another arm in the Nats’ new-look bullpen.

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However, should the Nats be considering a player connected to such inhumane accusations? Chapman is clearly an aggressive man who is confrontational enough to for such allegations to be brought up in the first place. In a clubhouse that already sports strong personalities like Papelbon, Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth, the last thing this team needs is a headcase. Additionally, Chapman could be facing a hefty suspension if the MLB investigation turns up any convincing evidence, and as an impending free agent after the 2016 season, he may not even be worth the risk.

The Nats needed to revamp their bullpen this offseason, and while the ideal arms the team sought after at the beginning of the winter are no longer available, Mike Rizzo and Co. have gotten creative in putting together a decent ‘pen. Newly signed veterans Shawn Kelley and Oliver Perez solve righty and lefty specialist roles, respectively. Felipe Rivero impressed during his rookie season and will be looking to follow up with an even better sophomore campaign. Trevor Gott, the 23-year old righty acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for Yunel Escobar, comes with six years of control after a promising rookie year filling in the seventh inning. Finally, former San Francisco Giant Yusmeiro Petit brings postseason experience and the ability to slot into the rotation to the table, giving manager Dusty Baker plenty of depth and flexibility. While one or two more moves are still left to be made, the Nats’ front office has certainly made the team competitive in the NL East, even without Chapman.