Chicago Cubs: No. 19: Aroldis Chapman
It’s hard to gauge where to put a guy like Aroldis Chapman on a list of greatest Chicago Cubs of the decade, as he only was with the team for two months plus the 2016 postseason. Yet Cubs fans should be able to agree that his impact was tremendous and that they probably wouldn’t have won the World Series without him.
Desiring some bullpen help, the Cubs traded for Chapman from the New York Yankees during the 2016 season. What’s often overlooked is how good Chapman was in the regular season for the Cubs, posting a 1.01 ERA in 28 relief appearances, with 16 saves.
Joe Maddon relied heavily on Chapman during the playoffs, pitching him in 13 of the team’s 17 games. Though he had a couple of rough outings – including in Game 7 of the World Series – Chapman provided some stability to a bullpen that was dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness.
Chapman had a 3.45 ERA that postseason, which is okay, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. In an era where bullpens are so critical in the playoffs, the team desperately needed Chapman’s 15 2/3 innings. And let’s not forget that after blowing the lead in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series, he did come back to put a zero on the board in the ninth.
The trade for Chapman is still receiving a lot of scrutiny because of what the Cubs gave up to get him, specifically Gleyber Torres, who has become a star for the Yankees. Even though it hurts a little to see Torres have so much success elsewhere, I wouldn’t give up the 2016 World Series title to have Torres back, and I think that at least most Cubs fans would agree.