Texas Rangers add key bullpen piece in Aroldis Chapman

The Texas Rangers have fired the first salvo prior to the trade deadline.

Their quest to upgrade their bullpen has already begun. According to Jeff Passan from ESPN, the Rangers have acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Kansas City Royals. In exchange, formerly well regarded prospect Cole Ragans and minor league outfielder Roni Cabrera are heading to Kansas City.

Aroldis Chapman natural fit for Texas Rangers

The Rangers were clearly on the lookout for an upgrade to their bullpen. While Will Smith, Josh Sborz, Brock Burke, and Jose LeClerc have been a solid quartet, the Rangers have not been able to find other pieces for their relief corps. LeClerc is also on the Injured List with a sprained ankle, making Chapman’s acquisition all the more important.

Chapman was considered a prime trade candidate from the moment he signed with the Royals. He fulfilled the Royals’ faith as a reclamation project, posting a 2.45 ERA and a 1.227 WHiP over his 29.1 innings, striking out 53 batters with 20 walks. His velocity was back to its previous levels as he once again proved that he can be a dominant late inning reliever.

He also did not cost much for the Rangers to acquire. Ragans has had plenty of success as a starter in the minors but has not been able to replicate that in Texas. He has a 5.32 ERA and a 1.446 WHiP in his 64.1 major league innings spanning 26 appearances, nine of which were as a starter. His injury history, command issues, and lack of velocity give Ragans a back of the rotation ceiling despite a plus changeup. Roni Cabrera is a toolsy prospect, but he is 17 years old and is more of a lottery ticket.

For the Royals, this appears to be yet another disappointing return on the trade market. Yes, the farm system is devoid of top end talent. And yes, Ragans may be able to turn a corner and be a viable major league option. However, Chapman was one of the best relievers that would be on the trade block. J.J. Picollo needed to get more back for such a valuable trade chip.

The Texas Rangers have made a major upgrade to their bullpen. Aroldis Chapman is heading to Texas without much of a price.

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