Reds deal Chapman to Yanks for 4 players
Cincinnati adds prospects Cotham, Davis, Jagielo and Renda
CINCINNATI -- Another big-name Reds player is off of the team's marquee after All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman was traded to the Yankees on Monday for four Minor Leaguers. The transaction was the latest in Cincinnati's efforts to rebuild by accumulating prospects and young talent, and president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty indicated more moves could be coming.
The deal brought Cincinnati right-handed starting pitcher Rookie Davis, third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda and right-handed reliever Caleb Cotham.
After Chapman earned $8.05 million in 2015, the hard-throwing left-hander is due to get another sizeable raise this winter as he is eligible for arbitration for a third and final time. He will be a free agent after the 2016 season. With the Reds rebuilding, he became a pricey luxury to have in the back end of the bullpen.
"The Yankees have been involved for a while," Jocketty said. "Since the Winter Meetings, I've talked to [Yankees general manager Brian] Cashman a few times. It really picked up, actually, Christmas Eve. We've been on the phone back and forth the last four or five days."
The Reds had previously tried to trade Chapman to the Dodgers for two prospects earlier this month during the Winter Meetings. The move was put on hold after allegations of a domestic violence incident involving Chapman surfaced. Major League Baseball has yet to complete its investigation under the new domestic violence policy.
"That was never part of the equation," Jocketty said. "We still think everything will work out and we feel very confident things will work out. The Yankees were not the only club we were talking to. There were several clubs we talked to. The Yankees were the ones that were probably most aggressive."
Nevertheless, it seems that the investigation might have affected Chapman's value. Only Jagielo and Davis were ranked by MLBPipeline.com as top 10 prospects in the Yankees organization. Renda and Cotham were not among the top 30.
"We've been on several conversations with the Reds on Chapman over the years," Cashman said, "including the [Trade] Deadline and early portion of the winter, and given the circumstances that currently exist, I think the price point on acquisition has been modified. We felt this was an opportunity for us to add a big arm to our bullpen, even though there are some things that are unresolved, and we will respect that process as it plays out, as anybody would need to."
Jocketty conceded there were "one or two teams" no longer interested in Chapman since the allegations about him were revealed.
"We probably had four teams at the end that were still talking," Jocketty said.
Chapman, who will turn 28 on Feb. 28, had a 2.17 career ERA and 146 saves in 164 chances with 546 strikeouts in 319 innings during his six seasons in Cincinnati. He was an All-Star each of the past four seasons.
Davis, 22, spent 2015 at Class A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton, and he was 8-7 with a 3.86 ERA in a combined 25 games (24 starts). He was added to New York's 40-man roster in November. MLBPipeline rated him the 10th-best prospect in the organization.
"Rookie Davis is a young right-handed starting pitcher we think will have a chance to be a starting pitcher in the next year or two with us," Jocketty said.
Jagielo, 23, was the Yankees' first-round pick in the 2013 Draft and was ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the organization's No. 6 prospect. Limited to 58 games last season at Trenton because of right knee surgery, he batted .284/.347/.495 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs. He's a career .266 hitter in the Minors, with 33 homers in 205 games.
"Jagielo is a guy we liked in the Draft," Jocketty said. "We could see him as a potential left-handed -- maybe utility guy at first and third -- for the first few years. He would definitely be a strong bat off the bench, definitely a solid hitter."
In 127 games last season for Double-A Harrisburg and Trenton, the 24-year-old Renda combined to hit .269/.330/.358 with 30 doubles, three homers, 44 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in 29 attempts. He also had 43 walks and 39 strikeouts in 480 at-bats. The Yankees had acquired Renda on June 11 in a trade that sent David Carpenter to the Nationals.
Cotham, 28, had a 2.21 ERA over 35 relief appearances at Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had a 6.52 ERA in 12 big league appearances for the Yankees.
Jocketty is looking to add as many Double-A and Triple-A level players as possible via the trades.
"I want guys that can help us the next year or two," Jocketty said. "I told our guys when we were researching different clubs that it's nice to have guys that are long-range prospects, but we need guys in the next couple of years."
Chapman is the latest frontline player the Reds have traded in 2015, following Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Todd Frazier. The club has also been seeking to move Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. Phillips, who has full no-trade protection, did not approve a Dec. 17 trade to the Nationals.
"He said he didn't want to go there. I haven't talked to him since then," Jocketty said of Phillips. "It's not set that [he's with the Reds], but likely he might be, yeah."
Is it safe to say the Reds are still not done dealing?
"I think so," said Jocketty, who did not believe that the Reds were close on completing any other trades during the remainder of the holidays.