Cubs closing in on Aroldis Chapman deal with Yankees

Cubs closing in on Aroldis Chapman deal with Yankees

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs are in the final stages of a blockbuster deal that could bring superstar closer Aroldis Chapman to Chicago and would involve sending elite shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres to the New York Yankees, sources familiar with the situation said Sunday night.

The exact details aren’t clear, but the talks reached a point where the Cubs pulled Torres from the lineup at advanced Class-A Myrtle Beach, at least sensing the strong possibility of a trade that would add a 105-mph closer to a first-place team that entered the year as World Series favorites.

Chapman, 28, began this season serving a 30-game suspension covered by Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy after a dispute with his girlfriend in South Florida last fall. In absorbing a supremely talented player with real baggage, the Cubs would believe in manager Joe Maddon’s personality and a strong clubhouse culture, figuring it might only be a two-month-plus rental before Chapman cashes in as a free agent. 

That incident scared the Cubs away during the offseason, when a Chapman trade between the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers collapsed at the winter meetings as those police reports surfaced. The Yankees waited for the price to drop, acquired the flame-throwing lefty at a steep discount and weathered the PR storm. 

Chapman enjoyed the bright lights and performed in New York, converting 20-of-21 save chances and striking out 44 batters in 31-plus innings. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo – who once challenged the Cincinnati dugout to a fight after Chapman buzzed two 100-mph pitches near a teammate’s head – said last month: “The game’s over when he comes in.”

That would be the idea for Theo Epstein’s front office, creating a dominant force that could help carry the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. 

Even Hector Rondon – who’s developed into a very good closer while the Cubs rebuilt their organization (77 saves since 2014) – recently admitted he would understand if the Cubs decided to trade with the Yankees.

“If they bring in a Chapman or (an Andrew) Miller, if they put him in my spot, whatever, s--- happens,” Rondon said last week. “I can’t control that. The most important thing for me is to come into the game, pitch my inning – whatever inning they put me in – and do my job.
“If we get one of those guys, I’m fine. It’s better for us.”

Torres is only 19 years old and a consensus top prospect, showing up in the midseason rankings on ESPN (No. 26), Baseball America (No. 27) and Baseball Prospectus (No. 34). The Cubs had signed Torres out of Venezuela during the summer of 2013, giving him a $1.7 million bonus and trying to stockpile enough assets to create a perennial contender. It sounds like it’s almost time to cash in one of those huge trade chips.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Jed Hoyer breaks down Cubs renovated pitching staff


Cubs Talk Podcast: Jed Hoyer breaks down Cubs renovated pitching staff

Between more power in the rotation and more strike-throwing in the bullpen, the Cubs were decisive in how they wanted to remake their pitching staff entering the 2018 season.

GM Jed Hoyer sits down with David Kaplan to explain the thought process of the front office over the winter.

Take a listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Scouting the Cubs' competition: Ugly days ahead for Starlin Castro and the Marlins


Scouting the Cubs' competition: Ugly days ahead for Starlin Castro and the Marlins

The expectations couldn't be any higher for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. 

It's 2016 all over again. The goal isn't just a trip to the playoffs or another NL pennant. It's World Series or bust for this group of North Siders.

With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:

Miami Marlins

2017 record: 77-85, 2nd place in NL East

Offseason additions: Lewis Brinson, Starlin Castro, Cameron Maybin, Garrett Cooper, J.B. Shuck, Scott Van Slyke, Jacob Turner, Elieser Hernandez, Caleb Smith, Magneuris Sierra, Sandy Alcantara

Offseason departures: Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, Ichiro Suzuki, A.J. Ellis, Dustin McGowan, Basically Everybody But J.T. Realmuto

X-factor: Ummm...Derek Jeter?

Seriously, the only X-factor with this franchise right now is ownership. Will the Marlins trade Realmuto or anybody else? Will it even matter? (probably not)

Projected lineup

1. Lewis Brinson - CF
2. Derek Dietrich - LF
3. Starlin Castro - 2B
4. Justin Bour - 1B
5. J.T. Realmuto - C
6. Brian Anderson - 3B
7. Cameron Maybin - RF
8. Miguel Rojas - SS

Projected rotation

1. Jose Urena
2. Justin Nicolina
3. Odrisamer Despaigne
4. Jacob Turner
5. Elieser Hernandez


Nobody would blame you if you haven't heard of half the names listed above that are slated for key roles in 2018. 

Poor Starlin. It's gonna be a long year for him in Miami, as this roster is destined for 100+ losses after shedding almost every big-league caliber player.

Bour — a former Cubs farmhand (25th round pick in 2009) — is a solid player and will probably be traded at some point, too along with Realmuto.

Brinson is an intriguing prospect who came over from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Yelich trade and may represent some of the only excitement surrounding the South Beach squad this season.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the Marlins pulled a swap off with each of the North Siders' NL Central rivals, dealing away stud outfielders Yelich (Brewers) and Ozuna (Caridnals) to the division.

Prediction: Last. In everything.

Complete opposition research

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins