Aroldis Chapman is a humongous human being. His hulking presence is more reminiscent of an outside linebacker than a pitcher. He is listed at 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, but he is probably bigger. Regardless, the size of Chapman’s frame befits his impact on baseball these last 12 months.
Amid the swirl of one of the biggest ethical issues facing major American sports — domestic violence — Chapman’s acquisitions and non-acquisitions have made a lasting impact on the three biggest markets in the country. How he became a Yankee, and how he reunited with them, has affected the game’s most historic franchise, its most epic championship drought and even its signature West Coast team.
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Exactly one year to the day — Dec. 7 — after the Cincinnati Reds reportedly worked a deal to send Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chapman agreed to the largest contract for a reliever in baseball history: a five-year, $86 million pact with the New York Yankees.
“We took calls. We listened. We engaged,” Huntington told reporters. “And not just on Andrew but on other players who are on one- or two-year contracts. As we will always do, if we find the right move and we believe the right move is to move the player, we’ll move the player. If we believe the right move is to hold the player, then we’ll hold the player.”
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The Washington Nationals were reportedly talking to the Pirates about McCutchen, but the Nats’ trade for Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton on Wednesday appeared to end their interest.
Pittsburgh nearly traded the 2013 NL MVP last week, and the two sides will enter the ’17 season unsure of the outfielder’s future with the franchise.
Baseball’s winter meetings ended Thursday with Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen still on the team. The expectation is that he will be there on Opening Day.
McCutchen is a five-time All-Star and won a Gold Glove in 2012. He has two years remaining on his contract.
Though McCutchen has been given “no assurances,” he has spoken to Huntington since the league’s winter meetings ended Thursday.