The Chicago Cubs (59-39) are 12-19 since their torrid 47-20 start. They still lead the Cardinals (52-46) by seven games in the NL Central and have a slight lead over the Nationals (58-41) and Giants (58-41) for the best record in the National League, but a 12-19 stretch is never a good thing.
Perhaps that’s why the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman on Monday. One of the most dominant closers in baseball, if not the most dominant closer in baseball, Chapman is 3-0 with 20 saves, a 2.01 ERA and has 44 strikeouts in 31 and 1/3 innings this season. He blew just one save in 31 appearances for the Yankees.
Does adding Chapman guarantee that the Cubs will win the World Series? No. Does adding Chapman guarantee that the Cubs will reach the World Series? Absolutely not.
But it does put them in good position going forward.
“You got to get hot at the right time in baseball. Whoever is hot in (the) postseason usually goes on to take care of business,” former MLB All-Star and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “But adding Chapman? Their bullpen was already pretty impressive, and I think the one thing that adding Chapman does is – they have the great starting pitching, but the days when the starters aren’t so great, you can go to that bullpen earlier and shorten the game with a guy like Chapman that just is lights out in the ninth inning. So it definitely propels the Cubs to another level, and they were already kind of at the top of the heap.”
The Cubs traded their top prospect, shortstop Gleyber Torres, for Chapman, along with pitcher Adam Warren and a pair of minor league outfielders, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.
Did the Cubs unload too much for Chapman, who could wind up being a rental?
“No, because Theo Epstein is trying to break two curses, and at the end of the day, you got to give up to get,” Casey said. “Chapman is a big prize, and Torres obviously is their No. 1 prospect, a really good shortstop down in A-Ball, projects to be great, 19-year-old kid, can steal bases, is eventually going to hit for some power. I think they have (Addison) Russell sitting there at shortstop, they have (Javier) Baez. They’ve done a great job of stockpiling prospects. You don’t always stockpile prospects just to bring them up and have them be big leaguers with the Cubs. You stockpile prospects to go get a piece whenever you need it. Theo and (general manager) Jed Hoyer and those guys have done a great job of stockpiling these guys. When they had to go get a guy like Chapman, they had the pieces to do it.”