NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – On the day that the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman last summer, Chicago was 20 games over .500, at 59-39, and had a seven-game lead in the NL Central. The Cubs were 10 1/2 games better than the team with the league's sixth-best record, the Cardinals.
Chicago gave up a big-time prospect in Gleyber Torres to get Chapman for the back end of their bullpen at a time when the Cubs could be very confident they would make the playoffs.
"That's a move you make," one rival executive said that day, "to win the World Series."
This is how it all worked out in the end, once the grinning Kris Bryant fired the ball to Anthony Rizzo in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series, and afterward, Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer celebrated, having put together a championship roster and getting exactly what they paid for in Chapman, as a finishing touch.