There is one thing that the cold weather can't keep from blooming: trade speculation. Indeed, Aroldis Chapman trade speculation is currently in full bloom as a myriad of teams that need bullpen help have either explicitly asked or have been rumored to be involved. Today, Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com reports that the Dodgers have inquired about acquiring Chapman's talents.
This is great news for the Reds, especially considering what the Dodgers have in terms of talent. Reds management has made it know they're looking for young, near-MLB-ready pieces in any Chapman trade, and the Dodgers have that in spades. The Dodgers have been willing to wheel and deal, though it's been obvious that the top shelf stuff is been off limits.
Though, as closer roles are still clearly defined, the fit with Los Angeles seems sketchy at best. The Dodgers are already in possession of Kenley Jensen, a dynamite closer in his own right. The rest of the LA bullpen left a lot to be desired in 2015 (19th in pen ERA), but as we saw illustrated with the Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen, it's not always best to "demote" a guy who's doing a good job. Couple that with the fact that both Chapman and Jensen are scheduled to be free agents at the end of 2016 (necessitating the need for each of them to rack up numbers in the "S" column in order to rack up the number in the $ column), and the situation gets stickier.
If either could manage to set aside their "need" to close, and if the Dodgers were willing to pay the price in both the prospects it'd take to acquire Chapman and the monetary value for two high-end, back of the bullpen pieces (estimated at nearly $25 million combined, but don't forget the Dodgers basically print money), Chapman and Jansen would immediately become the best one-two bullpen punch in the league.
Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi are tough nuts to crack, and generally it serves a rival executive's best interest to not find themselves on the other side of the Dodgers braintrust's trades. But, it isn't very often that Walt Jocketty gets out-foxed in a trade himself. This one is worth keeping an eye on.
From earlier this weekend, ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that the Astros are "hell-bent" on acquiring a closer, and have also "checked in" with the Reds regarding Chapman. As with the Dodgers, the Astros certainly have the pieces it will take to get Chapman, but they're still "unsure" they want to give up what the Reds are asking.
The Astros have also checked in with the Yankees and Rays for Andrew Miller and Brad Boxberger, respectively.
The Reds have said that they're willing and even looking to deal Chapman before the Winter Meetings roll around in two weeks. In order for that to happen, they're probably going to have to lower the asking price or hope a team gets desperate to move or enamored with the flame-throwing, left handed Cuban.
And, of course, it could certainly happen. I don't need to tell Reds fans how easily it is to become enamored with Aroldis Chapman.