In a bold move that sent shockwaves through the baseball world, the Texas Rangers, who have been flexing their dominance in the major leagues this season, made a significant trade to bolster their roster.
On a momentous Friday, they successfully acquired Aroldis Chapman, a perennial All-Star closer, from the Kansas City Royals. In exchange for Chapman’s services, the Rangers sent over Cole Ragans, a talented 25-year-old starting pitcher, and Roni Cabrera, a promising 17-year-old outfielder, to the Royals.
Chapman, a formidable left-handed pitcher, will now join forces with fellow southpaw Will Smith and right-hander Josh Sborz in the back end of the Rangers’ bullpen.
This formidable trio is expected to create a devastating combination during the critical late innings of games. Despite the Rangers’ bullpen ranking 24th in the majors in terms of ERA, the performances of Smith and Sborz have been exceptional, boasting a combined 2.71 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and an impressive 4.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Chapman, at 35 years old, has showcased his prowess on the mound during his first season with the Royals, posting a commendable 2.45 ERA along with 53 strikeouts and 20 walks in just over 29 innings of work.
As a result, he emerged as one of the most sought-after relievers leading up to the upcoming August 1 trade deadline, especially considering his impending free agency at the end of the season. However, the Rangers, displaying their determination and proactive approach, managed to secure his services well in advance, gaining an advantage over their competitors.
The acquisition of Chapman strengthens a Texas team that has been enjoying a remarkable season thus far. With an impressive record of 49 wins and 32 losses, and a remarkable plus-157 run differential, the Rangers currently sit atop the American League West division. Adding Chapman’s immense talent and experience to their roster further solidifies their position as serious contenders.
Chapman, known for his towering stature and possessing one of the most electrifying fastballs in baseball history, established himself as one of the game’s premier closers from 2012 to 2019.
During that period, he maintained an exceptional 2.10 ERA, accumulated 272 saves, and consistently struck out more than 15 batters per nine innings. However, his career has not been without controversy. In 2016, Chapman faced a 30-game suspension from Major League Baseball following allegations of domestic violence, admitting to firing shots from a handgun during the incident.
His tenure with the New York Yankees ended on a sour note in 2022 when he skipped a mandatory workout before the American League Division Series, resulting in his exclusion from the postseason roster. Over the previous two years, his performance suffered, with his ERA rising to 3.79 and his walk rate ballooning to 16.4%, the highest among pitchers with at least 100 appearances from 2021 to 2022.
Rangers’ general manager Chris Young addressed concerns surrounding Chapman’s past, stating that the team conducted an extensive amount of background research and expressed confidence in both his character and his abilities on the field.
Despite his troubled history, Chapman has shown glimpses of his previous form while pitching for the Royals. Although his walk rate hasn’t significantly improved, his fastball and sinker have regained their triple-digit velocity, while his slider has regained its effectiveness. As a result, opposing hitters have struggled against him, with a meager .188 slugging percentage.
The addition of Aroldis Chapman to the Texas Rangers signifies the team’s determination to strengthen their bullpen and make a deep playoff run. With Chapman’s elite skills and