Twins Planting Early Aroldis Chapman Trade Seeds with Royals

Photo: David Berding - Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals are 18-50 and one of the worst teams in baseball. The recently expanded playoff field has just about every team still thinking they have a shot at the postseason but the Royals are not one of them.

That’s why the KC front office has already declared a pre-trade deadline fire sale on just about any player(s) competitive teams might find valuable. Likely candidates include flamethrowing lefty reliever, Aroldis Chapman, who has reverted back to a form that once made him the most devastating closer in baseball.

Aroldis Chapman: Cincinnati phenom –> New York washed –> Kansas City resurrection

Aroldis Chapman has alluded father time in a way most hard throwing pitchers cannot. At 35 years old and 13+ seasons into his MLB career, Chapman is still one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the league, regularly exceeding 100 MPH, as seen above.

He’s thrown 668 innings over 14 seasons, accumulating impossible career numbers during that span: 2.48 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, 2.32 FIP, 14.7 SO/9 and 19.7 WAR. He is one of the most dominant bullpen arms of our time.

Chapman has been dominant most of his career, which started as a young phenom with the Cincinnati Reds in 2010, at age 22. He then signed with the New York Yankees in 2016, was traded to the Cubs at that year’s deadline, then re-signed with the Yankees again the next offseason.

But starting in 2020, Chapman started to show regression that eventually led to disaster in 2022 when the southpaw’s ERA rose to 4.46, his WHIP to 1.431, FIP to 4.57 and his SO/9 dropped to 10.7. That’s why he had to sign a prove-it deal with the Royals (1YR, $3.75M).

But in Kansas City, “The Missile” has looked like his old self, dropping his 2023 ERA down to 2.70, the lowest it’s been since 2019. FIP (2.28) and WHIP (1.286) have moved back to normal as well.

Twins already planting seeds with Royals

Enter the AL Central leader, Minnesota Twins, who are expected to be one of the MLB’s most aggressive teams at this summer’s trade deadline, when it comes to bullpen pitchers. It’s far and away their biggest need, as we inch closer to the season’s midway point, and relievers go on the cheap compared to good starting pitchers and top position players.

And according to Darren Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North) on his most recent episode of “The Scoop”, the Twins front office has already planted seeds with the Royals regarding Aroldis Chapman, letting their division rival to the south know that they want in on the bidding.

“The Twins, at minimum, have discussed [trading for] Aroldis Chapman internally. But I was also told ‘a seed has been planted’.”

Darren Wolfson – The Scoop Podcast

Sure, the Royals are bad but the Aroldis Chapman signing will work out for both he and the Kansas City organization. Because now, he’s one of the best and most well-known relief pitcher on a trade market that currently has a lot more demand than there is supply.

If you watch the Minnesota Twins on a daily basis, (hopefully streaming through Fubo TV like me), you’ve noticed that the bullpen woes have subsided in recent days. But let’s be real, we’re one Jorge Lopez or Emilio Pagan sighting away from the next implosion.

Dealing for Chapman wouldn’t be free but he’s 35 years old, on an expiring contract and he pitches out of the bullpen. That type of acquisition shouldn’t call for a notable haul in return, no matter what his name is or how hard he throws. Still, that doesn’t make his potential impact any less noteworthy.

Pairing Aroldis Chapman with Jhoan Duran would mean the hardest 4-seam (Duran – 101.9 MPH) and sinker (Chapman – 101.5) in Major League Baseball both sitting in the Twins’ bullpen, giving them far and away the most powerful and dominant righty/lefty late-inning combo in Major League Baseball.

Get it done, Thad.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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