Former Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman said that he was misused by Maddon in the playoffs. Is he out of line? Or is it something that should be expected?
During his conference call to formally announce his signing with the New York Yankees, the former Chicago Cubs closer took a few shots at Joe Maddon. Here’s the thing, as fans, many of us questioned the use of Chapman in the playoffs. Very few fans on social media didn’t wonder if all the pitches he had thrown would catch up with him. In Game 7, it appeared it did.
"“Personally, I don’t agree with the way he used me (in postseason),’’ Chapman said through a translator. “But he is the manager and my job is to be ready to pitch, whenever that is, however many innings that is.’’"
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Maddon didn’t take long to respond, taking the “high road” in his reasoning for why he made the decisions he did. The New York Post asked if he’d change anything:
"“Would I do it differently? No. There is no Game 7 without winning Game 6. And there is no Game 8 if you don’t win Game 7. That’s why you do what you have to do."
I believe the line here is being drawn by the mainstream media. It’s a divide that, to be honest, is irrelevant. Maddon knows how important Chapman was to the Cubs, and that without him? This World Series doesn’t happen.
“At the end of the day, man, we would not have won without him, and I appreciate everything he did. But I promise everything we did do, we did with his consent by talking to him prior to the game.’’
Is anyone to blame?
This is where it gets a little foggy. Chapman admitted he never voiced his concern to Maddon or the Cubs. “The way I feel is that, as baseball players, we’re warriors,’’ Chapman said. “If they send me out to pitch, I’m going to go out and pitch. If I’m tired, I’m going to put that aside and I’m going to get through it.’’
And Chapman has never used his excessive use in the playoffs as an excuse for what happened. Each time Maddon called on him he took the ball. No, the Cubs likely never intended to bring Chapman back. Especially not for the money he was going to command. But the Cubs didn’t intentionally “abuse” him with no regard to his future.
Not as bad as many may think
Many people see the comments as a parting shot to the Cubs now that Chapman has gotten his paycheck. But I see it a little differently. While a member of the Cubs, he was respectful of the management. He didn’t question it. He went out and did what was asked of him. Chapman isn’t the first player in baseball to question how a team has used him. He’s not even the first Cubs’ player to do it since the World Series ended.
The Cubs knew that Chapman was a rental player. They were going to ride him as far as they could. Maddon and the Cubs’ front office has admitted that the use of the bullpen all season was an issue. This was following a 2015 season in which they felt that they pushed the starters too hard. It’s a “Catch 22” that will always be something that teams deal with.
While I think the comments could have been left out, there’s no doubt Chapman was pressed on his thoughts. In the end, Chapman won a World Series. He got a lucrative free agent deal and will be part of Cubs history forever. It’s best to let “bygones be bygones” on this one.