Stunning Aroldis Chapman trade creates interesting dynamic in Dodgers' bullpen

Zack Greinke didn’t want the Dodgers’ money. Neither did David Price.  MORE: Worst December baseball trades of all timeSo what does a World Series-or-bust franchise do when it misses on its two biggest free-agent targets? It makes a splash elsewhere. A massive, cannonball splash.  The Dodgers made a relatively stunning trade for Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman on Monday morning, sending a pair of prospects — though not uber-prospects Corey Seager or Julio Urias — to the Reds. Why is that stunning? The Dodgers already have a closer. An ex

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cellent closer. One of the most reliable closers in baseball, actually. In the four years since Kenley Jansen became L.A.’s primary ninth-inning guy, he’s produced a 2.33 ERA, 2.10 FIP, 13.6 K/9, 0.910 WHIP and saved 133 games. In 2015, he blew only two saves all season. And now he’s paired with Chapman at the back of the bullpen. This all feels very much like the Royals’ theory of postseason success, where a pitching staff is built around dominance in the late innings. Comebacks should cease to exist for Dodgers’ opponents in 2015 — remember, Chapman is a free agent after the 2016 season, unless the Dodgers sign him to a rich long-term deal. Let’s take a second and look at Chapman. In the four years since he became Cincinnati’s closer, his numbers are just ridiculous: 1.90 ERA, 1.74 FIP, 16.1 K/9, 4.8 K/9 and 145 saves. He’s blown a total of five saves the past two seasons. And he throws the baseball ridiculously hard. Since 2010 Aroldis Chapman has thrown 1306 pitches 100 MPH+... Every other pitcher combined in has thrown 1549.— Daren Willman (@darenw) December 7, 2015But this brings up a huge question: Who will be L.A.’s closer? Does Jansen really lose his ninth-inning role, right after a brilliant 2015 campaign? That doesn’t seem right. Players who know Jansen do not believe he would react well if he lost closer’s job with #Dodgers set to acquire Chapman. Stay tuned.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 7, 2015On the other hand, did the Dodgers’ front office really pay that high of a price for one year of an eighth-inning guy? That seems highly doubtful. In a perfect world, one guy accepts his role and the Jansen-Chapman duo becomes the talk of baseball in 2016. They’ll dominate in the regular season and lock down win after win as the Dodgers roll to their first World Series title since 1988. But it’s impossible to look at this situation and not draw parallels to what happened to the Nationals last year, when GM Mike Rizzo traded for Jonathan Papelbon and demoted closer Drew Storen — who was having a brilliant year — to the eighth inning. Storen, one of the nicest guys in baseball, didn’t handle it well. He struggled and the caustic personality of Papelbon helped seal the fate of Washington’s season (and probably end manager Matt Williams’ time with the club). Can Jansen and Chapman co-exist? Can they thrive? At least this deal happened in the offseason, unlike the bomb Rizzo dropped on his clubhouse at last year's trade deadline. Everyone will say all the right things now, of course. But we'll see what happens when the season really gets rolling.

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