Cincinnati Reds: Analyzing the Aroldis Chapman Trade

The rebuild continued for the Cincinnati Reds on Monday when the team announced the trade of Aroldis Chapman to the New York Yankees in exchange for four minor leaguers, despite a possible suspension looming for the flame-throwing closer after a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend in October.

In exchange for Chapman, the Reds received right-handed pitchers Rookie Davis and Caleb Cotham along with third baseman Eric Jagielo and second baseman Tony Renda.

Who are the prospects?

While the Reds didn’t get top-tier prospects from the Yankees, such as Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo or Greg Bird, president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty was fortunate to get anything at all for Chapman. His price had dropped and the fact that anyone took him off the Reds’ hands at all (at least before any punishment was handed down) can be considered a win of sorts. And although it’d be a surprise if any of the four players received wind up being all-stars, the return isn’t all that bad upon closer look.

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Davis, a 14th-round pick out of high school by the Yankees in 2011, is considered to be the top prospect in the deal and adds another quality arm to the Reds’ already impressive collection of young pitchers. Prior to the trade, the 22-year-old was ranked the Yankees’ No. 6 prospect by Baseball America and No. 10 by (who now rank him No. 8 in the Reds organization).

The righty got his first taste of High-A and Double-A in 2015 and put up respectable numbers with an 8-7 record, 3.86 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Davis also struck out a healthy amount (8.9 K/9) while displaying good control and limiting his free passes (1.8 BB/9). Per, his fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s and he has a decent curveball as a second pitch. Davis throws a changeup as well, but it needs work. Although he could be a reliever in the long term due to his lack of high-quality pitches, the Reds will use him as a starter for now. He’ll more than likely start the 2016 season with Double-A Pensacola.

If Davis is considered the top prospect in the return, Jagielo is not far behind. A first-round pick in 2013 out of Notre Dame (taken one spot before the Reds selected Phillip Ervin), he is listed as the seventh-best third base prospect in baseball and was the Yankees’ No. 6 prospect, according to He’s now slotted in just behind Davis as the Reds’ ninth-best prospect.

Jagielo, a left-handed hitter, is well-regarded for his power to all fields, having hit 33 home runs in 862 minor-league plate appearances. He hasn’t hit for a particularly high average in his three seasons (.266) and strikes out a lot (24.1 K%), but has impressive on-base skills (.356 on-base percentage, 10.0 BB%) to make up for those deficiencies. His lack of speed and arm strength have some questioning whether he can stick at third base, though the Reds will certainly give him an opportunity to play there given their lack of organizational depth at the position.

Aside from defense, Jagielo’s biggest question mark is his health, having played in only 204 games to this point in his professional career. He was on his way to a breakout season at Double-A Trenton in 2015 before his season was cut short by a knee injury, hitting .284/.347/.495 with 27 extra-base hits (nine homers) in 58 games. Like Davis, Jagielo will probably start next season in Double-A, but could move up quickly if he stays healthy. Long-term, he now becomes the organizational favorite to be the Reds’ third baseman of the future.

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Cotham and Renda are considered to be complimentary pieces in the trade.

After getting his first taste of big-league action in 2015, Cotham will compete in the Reds’ wide-open bullpen race during spring training. Though the 28-year-old struggled in his 12 games with the Yankees (6.52 ERA), he was in the midst of the best season of his career in Double-A and Triple-A before his call-up (2.21 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9).

Renda, 24, won’t wow anyone with the numbers he’s produced to this point in his career (.285 average, six home runs in four seasons). However, there are aspects of his game to be intrigued about. Despite being far from a power hitter, he seems to be able to find the outfield gaps, with 103 career doubles, including 30 last season and 43 in 2013. The 2012 second-round pick also has a knack for getting on base, owning a career .360 OBP, and won’t strike out much, as he’s walked (185) nearly as much as he’s been punched out (196).


While the Reds didn’t get a player with star potential in the deal for Chapman, it’s clear that they did get a good degree of value. Davis, Jagielo and Cotham should all make an impact in Cincinnati sooner than later, while Renda could eventually wind up as a contributor off the bench down the line.

Jocketty didn’t get as much value for Chapman now as he would’ve in July, there’s no debate about that. Not accepting the Arizona Diamondbacks’ reported offer of Braden Shipley before the deadline looked bad at the time and appears even worse now. But the blame doesn’t lie solely with the Reds. After all, Chapman put them in this situation with his deplorable actions. All things considered, it’s tough to find too much to complain about given the circumstances.