Aroldis Chapman is the hot name on the MLB trade market right now. Teams are looking for a lock down closer to add to the back end of their bullpen, and the New York Yankees have no shortage in that department. For that reason, both Chapman and fellow reliever Andrew Miller are being dangled by the Yankees.
Now several teams have been linked to Chapman to this point. The most notable of them include the Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals. The San Francisco Giants reportedly have interest as well, but the Yankees are said to not like their farm system, and a deal is unlikely between those clubs. And to add to that mix, MLB Daily Dish is reporting there is also a mystery team in the mix to compete with those teams.
Every trading season, several trade commodities become the subject of the infamous “mystery team”. It is the team that even the best of reporters cannot nail down with any amount of certainty. So when it comes to Chapman, we must ask the question, who could this mystery team be? Well there are a few possibilities.
There are three teams that jump out as possibilities in my opinion. Those teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. Now let’s take a closer look at each one to see which one is the most likely candidate.
The Dodgers are all beat up. Their starting pitching has been decimated by injuries, led by ace Clayton Kershaw. The club has been linked to a number of starting pitchers, but if they cannot work out a deal there, it is very possible they decide to build a Yankee style bullpen instead to shorten games.
The team does have a dominant closer in Kenley Jansen already. But that did not stop them in the off-season from trying to acquire Chapman. They actually had a deal in place with Cincinnati, but backed out after the reports of Chapman being involved in an altercation came out.
So we know the interest is there, and we know the team needs to make some sort of moves to keep moving in the right direction. They currently have a small lead in the wild card, but that will not last considered how depleted the roster has become.
The only issue is the Dodgers may not have enough trade chips when compared to other teams. So the Yankees can likely find a better deal elsewhere. While they does not exclude them as the mystery team, I would imagine they use their resources to build rotation depth.
Then comes the St. Louis Cardinals. They are still not out of things completely in the NL Central, holding down second place behind the Cubs. But it is the wild card that is more likely, and they are only a half game back as of this writing.
The back end of the pen has been an issue for them this season. Trevor Rosenthal, who started the season as the teams closer has been absolutely awful this season, and that is being kind. So adding a lock down closer to the mix would be a major plus for the team.
They certainly have a few major league ready pieces that could interest the Yankees, but it is a matter of what they are willing to give up. Randal Grichuk and Kolton Wong are both players that have serious potential, and were both sent down to the minors at some point this season because they were under performing. But is the team ready to give up on either completely yet for a rental?
They also have some pretty good pitching prospects down on the farm. Alex Reyes is a star in the making, and I am sure the Yankees would love to add him. But once again, will the Cards part with their top prospect for a rental? At the end of the day, the Cardinals are certainly an option to be the mystery team.
Finally we come to the Houston Astros. During the off-season they made a huge trade to acquire Ken Giles to be their closer. But when the season started, Luke Gregerson was the teams closer. This entire season has been a form of musical closers for the team. Seven different relievers have gotten a save for the club this season.
Now Will Harris has been pitching very well, and even went to the All Star Game. But he is no Chapman. So if the team could acquire a top end closer, they will. Then factor in the Texas Rangers, the team Houston trails in the division, is also after him. It would be a win-win for Houston in that regard.
He was linked to the club during the off-season as well before they acquired Giles. So we know the teams’ front office likes him. They are within reach of both the AL West title and a wild card spot, and the team has some of the best young offensive players in baseball. So adding in a top notch closer could be what gets them over the hump.
And since the team has been building through the draft in recent years, they should have plenty of depth to entice the Yankees with. Maybe even Giles becomes involved in the talks, as he still has closer skills. Although the Yankees may not necessarily be looking for more bullpen help, as they need to build a young offense and starting rotation depth.
A definite option to be our mystery team. And given their connection to the Rangers, I would place them as the favorites to be said team.
So what do you think? Who is the mystery team? And more importantly, where will Chapman end up? Tell us in the comments!