The Chicago Cubs acquired hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman in a trade with the New York Yankees on Monday, giving the NL Central leaders a boost as they try for their first World Series title in more than a century.
The Cubs paid a steep price, parting with top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres and versatile pitcher Adam Warren in the four-player package going to the Yankees. Chapman also faced a domestic violence allegation in the offseason that cost him a 29-game suspension, and the left-hander is eligible for free agency after this year.
But there is no doubting the talent of the 28-year-old Chapman, who went 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA and 20 saves in 31 games with New York. He threw a 105.1 mph fastball to Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy last Monday night, matching the fastest since Major League Baseball began tracking speeds in 2008.
With lefty-batting sluggers Bryce Harper of Washington and Brandon Belt of San Francisco possibly looming in the playoffs, the addition of Chapman gives manager Joe Maddon one of the majors’ top assets when in need of a late strikeout.
“Obviously, we are aware of the circumstances surrounding Aroldis Chapman’s suspension earlier this season,” Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said. “I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field. Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.”
New York had won six of eight heading into Monday night’s game at Houston, but it still faces long odds of getting to the playoffs. All-Stars Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are still at the back of the bullpen, allowing the Yankees to trade Chapman now and still consider trying for the postseason depending on how they fare ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.
The Yankees made the decision to trade Chapman after his agents said he would not agree to a new contract that would start in 2017, a person familiar with the talks said.
Cards arrive late in N.Y. after delay
The St. Louis Cardinals did not arrive at their hotel in New York until 8:30 a.m. Monday after a flight delay that followed a nationally televised night game.
St. Louis’ 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Sunday night’s ESPN game lasted 3 hours, 49 minutes, and ended shortly before 11 p.m. CDT. The plane taking the Cardinals to New York did not land in St. Louis on time because of weather, causing the team to remain in its clubhouse for several hours.
The Cardinals’ game at the New York Mets on Monday night was then postponed because of rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader Tuesday starting at 4:10 p.m.
Clearing the bases
Texas Rangers slugger Prince Fielder is expected to have season-ending neck surgery for the second time in three years. … White Sox ace Chris Sale will start on Thursday against the Cubs in his first appearance since he was suspended for five days after destroying a collared throwback uniform.
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