Monday brought a pair of big changes to the rosters of two American League teams, one via a trade and the other due to injury.
Early in the afternoon, a trade that had been rumored the day before was confirmed and finalized.
The Chicago Cubs traded four players, including their Nos. 1 and 5 prospects, shortstop Gleyber Torres and outfielder Billy McKinney, in exchange for the New York Yankees flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman goes from a team in New York fighting to stay relevant in the AL, to the team on the North Side of Chicago that is not only the best team in the NL, but likely all the MLB, as well.
Theo Epstein and company are going all-in to win it all in 2016, though the move could end up jeopardizing the future of the ball club.
The move doesn’t leave New York’s bullpen depleted by any means, as the Yankees still have Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in the back end of the pen. Although, there have been conflicting reports on whether Miller will be moved prior to the August 1 trade deadline or not.
It also bolsters a farm system that Yankee GM Brian Cashman has tried hard to revive.
Chapman has the highest strikeout rate in MLB history at 15.2 K’s per nine innings pitched. He also has thrown more pitches at 100+miles per hour than the next 18 pitchers combined since 2010.
Although the asking price of any team trying to get Chapman was expected to be high, four players seems like a lot for a player who is an unrestricted free agent after this year.
The other big roster change in the American League came out of the AL West leading Texas Ranger clubhouse when news broke that Prince Fielder would miss the remainder of the 2016 campaign due to season-ending neck surgery.
This isn’t the first time Fielder has dealt with a neck injury since coming to the Rangers.
Fielder missed nearly all of the 2014 season due to neck surgery and was already on the disabled list due to a herniated disc. His placement on the DL is retroactive to July 20.
After getting off to a slow start to the year, Fielder was hitting for just a .212 average at the All-Star break. He had also only hit 8 home runs and driven in 44 runs through the team’s first 90 games.
Despite his lack of offense this season, Fielder’s absence will certainly be felt on the field.
The loss, however, may solve a few more problems than it creates as it likely forces the team to hang on to Jurickson Profar, who was in the middle of a lot of the trade rumors that surrounded the Rangers, though Texas has never fully said they were shopping him. The Rangers have used Profar in a number of roles at a number of positions this year.
Since being traded for one another after the 2013 season, Fielder and Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler have gone in different directions.
Fielder has only appeared in 289 games over the three seasons he’s been a part of the Rangers, whereas Kinsler has played in 411 contests with Detroit. Kinsler has also hit for a better average and on-base percentage, as well as more home runs and nearly 200 more hits than the player he was traded for.