Rangers move closer to Aroldis Chapman in trade with Royals

The Texas Rangers, which have emerged as one of the premier teams this season, made their first major trade of the summer on Friday, snapping up perennial All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman to the Kansas City Royals.

25-year-old starting pitcher Cole Ragans and 17-year-old outfielder Ronnie Cabrera were acquired from the Royals in exchange.

Chapman, a free agent at the end of the season, would join fellow lefty Will Smith and right-hander Josh Szborz in the back of the Rangers bullpen, forming a devastating combination at the end of the game. The Rangers’ bullpen ranked 24th among the chiefs in ERA, but Smith and Sborz combined for a 2.71 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 4.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Chapman, 35, posted a 2.45 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 20 walks in 29 1/3 innings in his first season with the Royals and was expected to be one of the most coveted relievers before the August 1 trade deadline. The Rangers chased him aggressively more than a month ago, bolstering a team that boasted a 49–32 record and a plus-157 run-difference while finishing in first place in the American League West. Does

A huge left-hander with one of the most prolific fastballs in the history of the game, Chapman established himself as one of the game’s best closers from 2012 to 2019, posting a 2.10 ERA while collecting 272 saves and Strikes out more than 15 batters per nine innings. ,

But Chapman was suspended 30 games by Major League Baseball in 2016 for an alleged domestic violence incident in which he was accused of strangling his girlfriend. He admitted to police that he fired eight shots from a handgun in his garage during the incident.

Chapman’s more than six-year tenure with the New York Yankees ended with him skipping a mandatory workout before the 2022 American League Division Series and then being left off the postseason roster. The event soured a two-year hiatus, allowing his ERA to rise to 3.79 and his walk rate balloon to 16.4%, the highest among those making at least 100 appearances from 2021 to 2022.

Rangers general manager Chris Young said, “I won’t go into specifics, but I will say we’ve done a very extensive job on the background.” “We are very comfortable with that person and certainly with the player.”

Chapman was then forced to sign a one-year, $3.75 million contract with a Royals team that was apparently in a rebuilding phase. His walk rate didn’t improve much in Kansas City, but his fastball and sinker reached the triple digits on a more regular basis and his slider got some life back, allowing opposing hitters to hit just .188 against him.

Young said, “I think what we’re looking at is a pitcher who’s really back to pitching the way he pitched a few years ago.” “Fastball is electric. He’s really hard to hit. We think he fits our bullpen’s needs in terms of swing and miss and is capable of being a leverage pitcher in the back of the bullpen.”

In Ragans, who was previously a first-round pick, the Royals got a controllable left-hander who struggled through a 5.92 ERA in 24 1/3 major league innings this season, but fit into their rotation for the foreseeable future It is possible Cabrera hit .247/.361/.407 in 52 games with the Rangers in the Dominican Summer League over the past two years.

This report used information from The Associated Press.

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