The Los Angeles Dodgers almost traded for Aroldis Chapman last offseason. Now that he’s a free agent, they have a good opportunity to sign him.
Chapman, 28, is seeking a lucrative deal. He reportedly wants $100 million. Whether or not a team will give him this amount of money remains to be seen. If there is one team in the MLB that is not afraid to spend money though, it’s the Dodgers.
Earlier in the week, the Dodgers made a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer to Kenley Jansen. He has been their closer for the past few years. If Jansen declines the offer like he’s expected to, he will have a chance to test the free agent market. Should this happen, the Dodgers can choose to either give him a new multi-year contract or go after Chapman.
There’s no question that Chapman is among the best relief pitchers in the MLB today. He is one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in the game. Everyone saw how valuable he was to the Chicago Cubs in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Between the Cubs and New York Yankees, Chapman had 36 saves in this past season. He only had three blown saves. In 58 innings pitched, he recorded 90 strikeouts.
It is unlikely that Chapman will end up back with the Cubs next season. The team is not expected to seriously pursue him due to the amount of money that he reportedly wants. A few teams have expressed interest in signing him, including the Dodgers, Yankees and San Francisco Giants.
The Yankees could try and re-sign Chapman. They traded him to the Cubs back in July. Right now, Dellin Betances is the Yankees closer. If the Yankees really want Chapman back, they could definitely sign him. The money is not a problem with them.
As far as the Giants go, they desperately need bullpen help. Adding Chapman would give them the shutdown closer that they are lacking. Earlier in the week, Chapman met with the Giants. Right now however, it’s unclear whether or not the team is willing to pay him what he wants.
With the Dodgers, money is not as much of an issue. The team had the highest payroll in the MLB last year. Even if Chapman actually wants around five years and $100 million, they can afford the hit on their payroll. What Dodgers general manager Andrew Friedman needs to do is go all in for Chapman. The team almost landed him last offseason in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, but backed out at the last minute when domestic violence allegations against him came to light. Chapman served a suspension at the beginning of the 2016 season due to the incident.
Chapman would fit in well with the Dodgers. He has already played in big markets in his career. The pressure will not be too much for him. On the Dodgers end, it makes a lot of sense to sign Chapman. He’s a dynamic closer and a strikeout machine. The team should pay whatever it takes to get him.
If Friedman is smart, then he will try and get Chapman to sign a contract as soon as possible. The Dodgers have a great opportunity here to sign one of the best relief pitchers in the game. They need to do it before another team does.