On the surface of it, the Aroldis Chapman trade looks like a steal for the New York Yankees. The hardest throwing reliever in all of MLB was acquired for no more than four mid-level prospects. If Brian Cashman is to be believed, Chapman will form, with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, what could turn out to be the best bullpen back-end in Major League history.
Of course, the reason the trade was a steal is very disturbing. Chapman's legal troubles have been well-documented, so I won't go into detail here. However, while he was neither arrested nor charged with a crime, MLB continues to investigate and, under the league's new domestic violence policy, could suspend Chapman for a period of time during the upcoming season.
The key words here are "for a period of time." Chapman is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2016 season. However, depending on if and how long he is suspended, that might not happen. The consensus seems to be that a suspension of at least 46 games will push Chapman's service time back far enough that he won't hit the free agent market for another season.
I'm hoping this will happen, not only because of the seriousness of the alleged crime, but because the trade will make more sense. Yes, the price for Chapman's acquisition was four mid-level prospects, but that seems a bit much for someone who will only be around for one season. (No, it is not a given that they'll sign him. Remember, these are no longer George Steinbrenner's Yankees.)
In any case, the Yankees got a tremendous left-handed reliever, one that is 100 times better than Justin Wilson, who they traded earlier this month. Also, with the three-headed monster that now (or, perhaps, only currently) occupies the bullpen, that low-on-innings starting rotation shouldn't generate as much worry as it did before yesterday.
Welcome to the Yankees, Mr Chapman.