After signing former Kansas City Royals Closer Wade Davis this month, it was clear that the Chicago Cubs no longer desired the services of Aroldis Chapman.
Coming off a World Series run where Chapman pitched in every big moment, at times for two or three innings, and delivered in a big way, the Cubs didn’t feel that Chapman was the best bang for their buck.
Chapman, deservingly so, commands a big cash payout for his services. A left- handed closer that throws 100- plus miles per hour on average and can get up to 106, who proved this postseason that he can pitch in big games and moments. What he also proved was that he can be more than a one inning guy, which was his M.O. throughout his career.
Due to this very unique set of attributes, he would have cost the Cubs at least $80 million over four or five years. For most teams, that would be a no-brainer as the closer is one of the most revered and sought after positions in the game by most teams. The Cubs, however, are clearly a team that believes in quality over quantity.
As great as Chapman is and as big time as he was this postseason, especially the way he was mishandled with the number of innings he threw, the signing of Wade Davis for a lot cheaper price and just as much production is a savvy move by the Cubs. Even at the expense of Chapman, the Cubs have continued to make a series of logical and affordable moves to solidify their young foundation and sprinkle in productive veteran talent around it with experience in big games (i.e. David Ross, Ben Zobrist, Chapman, John Lackey).
Although this makes sense for the Cubs, it didn’t for Chapman, as he openly wondered why the Cubs hadn’t been in talks with his agent about resigning with the team, something he wanted to do.
Eventually, he realized his fate when the Cubs inked Davis to a 1 year/$10 Million deal through a trade with the Royals. After this, Chapman took meetings with other teams and ended up signing a big deal to return to the Yankees bullpen for five years/$86 Million.
Upon returning to New York and thus leaving Chicago, Chapman decided to speak his mind about the situation and how he was handled.
Via Pete Caldera/USA Today Sports: “Personally, I don’t agree with the way he used me (in postseason),’’ Chapman said through a translator. “But he is the manager and my job is to be ready to pitch, whenever that is, however many innings that is.’’
“I don’t think I needed to come into that game… the important game was going to be Game 7 and basically we had that game almost won,’’ said Chapman, who seemed to be more questioning of why he pitched the ninth. “The next game I came in tired.’’
What this move marked, ultimately, was a win-win for both sides. Despite Chapman’s gripes about his overuse in the postseason and not being resigned by the team after his services, he still made out great by signing the biggest closer deal in history and coming back to a team with a young nucleus and a great bullpen. For the Cubs, they continue to be frugally productive in their decision-making and should benefit if Wade Davis is able to return to form this upcoming season. Even if he is not, he’s only signed for one year and at a relatively cheap cost for what closers are garnering nowadays.
I personally would have liked to see Chapman stay in Chicago and be rewarded for his services, but nonetheless, both parties made out well.
Do you think the Cubs should have resigned Chapman? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.