NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have put the acquisition of reliever Aroldis Chapman on the backburner as they await more information from Major League Baseball’s domestic violence investigation, but sources insist the deal is not dead.
Should the Dodgers eventually acquire Chapman from the Reds, there could be considerable public outcry in Los Angeles and elsewhere, even if he is cleared in the investigation into a police report in which his girlfriend told police he “pushed” and “choked” her during an argument on Oct. 30 at their Florida home.
That would be nothing new for Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. He has been criticized in the past for acquiring players with checkered pasts. Tampa Bay reliever Josh Lueke spent 40 days in prison for false imprisonment and violence stemming from an incident with a woman in Bakersfield, California, when he was a minor leaguer with the Texas Rangers. Tampa third baseman Willy Aybar was arrested in the Dominican Republic for assaulting his wife and violating a restraining order. Designated hitter Luke Scott was revealed to be a birther and open racist in an ESPN The Magazine story.
Infielder Matt Bush had had multiple encounters with law enforcement before Friedman signed him in 2010. He later pleaded no contest to one count of DUI with great bodily injury after he struck a motorcyclist and was sentenced to 51 months in prison.
The Dodgers won’t comment publicly about Chapman, because of the investigation and because he is still under contract with another team, but Friedman discussed his philosophy in regard to players with questionable histories.
“Everything is factored in when you make personnel decisions,” Friedman said. “Even when I was with the Rays, we put a tremendous amount of work in with guys. You go into any decision with your eyes wide open and constantly talk through things. You look at the pros and cons and see what makes the most sense.”
Some people might find it stunning the Dodgers continue to monitor the situation rather than simply pull out, but there could be an incentive for them to make the deal even if Chapman is suspended by commissioner Rob Manfred. If Chapman is suspended for 50 games, say, the Dodgers would have him under club control for an extra season. He needs 138 days of service time to reach free agency and 172 service days equals one year of service.