Perhaps the Yankees took Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” to heart this offseason. After acquiring Starlin Castro a few weeks ago, the Yankees took the plunge to obtain closer Aroldis Chapman from the Reds yesterday. Castro, as I noted before, has been involved in a couple of off-field incidents. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is currently investigating Chapman for his role in a domestic violence incident at his home in Florida. The details are murky, but the Yankees struck a deal with Cincinnati anyway. Indeed, it appears the Yankees would prefer to laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.
There’s nothing to say about Chapman’s ability that you probably don’t already know. At any rate, I’ll provide a few tidbits. He’s one of the top relievers in baseball, if not the very best. The Cuban lefty possesses the highest velocity fastball in the big leagues, regularly hitting 100 MPH. He has the highest strikeout rate of all-time (42.9%), minimum 300 innings pitched. Finally, his career ERA and FIP are 2.17 and 1.97 respectively. There’s no need to look any further to understand why the Yankees wanted him.
But for as incredible of a pitcher Chapman is, he might be just as bad of a person. After a trade that would have shipped him to the Dodgers fell through, a police report of a domestic violence incident at Chapman’s Florida home trickled out to the media. Tim Brown and Jeff Passan have the summary of the police report on Yahoo. Chapman was not arrested for his involvement, but that doesn’t necessarily save him from scorn. It’s more or less of a he-said-she-said, but there was clearly an argument that incited some sort of physical altercation between Chapman and his ex-girlfriend. We probably won’t ever know if Chapman choked his girlfriend and pushed her against a wall (her claim), or if he “poked” her in the shoulder and she fell to the ground (Chapman’s claim). Nonetheless, either action is in poor judgement. No, there weren’t any signs of injury on Chapman’s ex-girlfriend, but that is by no means a saving grace. That’s not all, though: in an apparent fit of rage, Chapman fired eight bullets in his garage while alone. That’s an alarming way to blow off some steam. Oh, and did I mention that the couple’s child was in the home during the entire confrontation? Yikes. Continue reading