Known for closing games with the fastest pitches in the major leagues, Aroldis Chapman was poised for a quick move at baseball’s winter meetings.
The Cincinnati Reds agreed to trade the All-Star closer to the Los Angeles Dodgers, pending approval of medical records, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the agreement had not been announced.
A 27-year-old left-hander, Chapman is eligible for free agency after next year’s World Series. He threw the 62 fastest pitches in the big leagues this year, ranging from 103.92 mph to 102.36 mph, according to Major League Baseball’s Statcast computer system. Chapman joins a bullpen that already has closer Kenley Jansen.
“Kansas City has shown that a really lights-out, super bullpen is a way of winning championships,” Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said. “You’re seeing more and more resources being put into bullpen pieces.”
In the first completed trade of the annual swap session, Boston bolstered a suddenly imposing bullpen, acquiring right-hander Carson Smith and lefty Roenis Elias from Seattle for left-hander Wade Miley and reliever Jonathan Aro.
The 26-year-old Smith, who was 2-5 with 13 saves and a 2.31 ERA in 70 appearances for Seattle, joins the back end of a bullpen anchored by new closer Craig Kimbrel.
“I think it really gives us another power arm,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “It gives us a little more depth out there.”
World Series champion Kansas City made a pair of pitching moves, announcing an $11.5 million, two-year contract with right-hander Chris Young, who won the Series opener, and agreeing to a $25 million, three-year deal with reliever Joakim Soria that still needed to be finalized.
“Him and Chris Young are very similar people,” general manager Dayton Moore said.
After defecting from Cuba in 2009, Chapman spent the last six seasons with the Reds and saved 146 games in 164 chances. He had a 1.63 ERA this year, when he struck out 116 in 66 1⁄3 innings. The trade agreement was first reported by Fox.
“We go through this at the trade deadline at the end of July, and now we have a bunch of players with names out there. So it’s uncomfortable enough,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “So if anything happens with any of our guys, it would be nice if it happened sooner rather than later, but that’s just the nature of the beast.”
Los Angeles also was closing in on deals to add free-agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and to re-sign second baseman Chase Utley.
“You look at Chase Utley, the intangibles, I think he’s a special player and can make our team better,” new Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Iwakuma, haven’t seen a whole lot, but when he’s healthy, he’s as good as anything. Top-of-the-rotation guy. From what I hear, he’s healthy. We’ll see what happens.”
Zack Greinke, who agreed Friday to a $206.5 million, six-year contract with Arizona, took the physical Monday that is needed before that deal can be finalized. He has gone 51-15 with a 2.30 ERA in three seasons with the Dodgers.
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