Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman and his girlfriend are the subject of a Major League Baseball investigation that potentially threatens to end his proposed trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
According to reports, the Dodgers were on the verge of acquiring the 27-year-old from the Reds for two minor leaguers this Monday, but it appears that the fate of this particular trade lies in the hands of MLB, which is investigating a domestic incident under its new domestic violence policy.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty says that although the deal is not dead, it has hit a snag, which means that it could take the acquisition at least a few weeks.
Reports claim that Chapman fired eight gunshots in the garage of his home in Florida and is also accused of choking his girlfriend during the October 30 incident, according to a police report which was first obtained by Yahoo Sports.
According to the report, Chapman’s girlfriend told investigators that the incident started when she questioned her boyfriend about something on his cellphone. And although the player has admitted to firing the gun, he says that he did not choke his girlfriend.
Because there were several inconsistencies in stories and a lack of physical evidence of injuries, police were unable to make any arrests. Four days later, however, Assistant State Attorney Marcie Zaccor revealed that there was insufficient evidence to charge Chapman for the incident.
The new MLB domestic violence policy states that a violator may be subject to suspension or a fine at the discretion of commissioner Rob Manfred.
Jay Reisinger, Chapman’s attorney, told Yahoo Sports on Monday night, “I’ve reviewed the facts as portrayed. On behalf of Mr. Chapman, we vehemently deny the allegations as stated. Beyond that, we have no further comment at this time.”
Chapman is considered the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball history and is also considered among the best closers in baseball after six successful seasons as a left-handed relief ace for the Reds.
This recent development comes as a huge blow to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who was clearly looking forward to getting his hands on the prized property and was speaking enthusiastically about the prospect of pairing Chapman and incumbent closer Kenley Jansen.
“Potentially, you get two of the best closers, back-of-the-game guys, sharing the same bullpen,” Roberts said. “That’s exciting.”
Blessed with a fastball that regularly touches 100 mph, Chapman had 116 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings this year at an average of 15.7 every nine innings. He saved 33 games.
Pending the results of the investigation, there is also a possibility that Jansen might not be impressed if he was moved into a setup role. Like Chapman, Jansen is also going to become a free agent next winter, so a new role will further limit his role for the team. As a consequence, this will see him struggle to earn a lucrative contract for next year.
“I think it’s just managing things,” Roberts said. “Again, this is all hypothetical. We don’t know. That would be a pleasant problem.”