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Red Sox performing 'background work' for Aroldis Chapman trade

That doesn't mean anything is close, but they are talking.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox could use some bullpen help, and while there are no guarantees they are going to get it from Aroldis Chapman, it sounds like they're going to find out if they can. According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox are performing "background work" on Aroldis Chapman, which is one of the early steps for figuring out if a trade should occur.

There are other options available for the Sox and their bullpen -- free agents like Darren O'Day, Joakim Soria, and Ryan Madson -- but Chapman is the best of the bunch. The issue is that he's also the only one who will cost the team prospects, and Boston will get just one year of Chapman for the trouble. Now, depending no who the prospect or prospects are, that can be all fine and good for the Sox even as it makes the Reds happy. Obviously, there are some prospects that, if they're going to be moved, it should be for more than a one-year reliever, no matter how great they might be.

At least Chapman is spectacular in his greatness, though. He struck out nearly 16 batters per nine innings in 2015, and produced a 1.63 ERA in the process. He's allowed fewer than five hits per nine for his career, and has logged at least 33 saves in each of the last four seasons. He is flat-out ridiculous on the mound, and they don't come much more effective than him. Again, the issue is that the Sox will only get the one season out of him, unless they extend him. Which, given he'll be just 28 in 2016 and the alternatives on the free agent market are already older, isn't a bad idea if they do deal for him.

He will earn a whole lot of money that way, but hey, that's what an inexpensive core is supposed to offset. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, though: the Red Sox have to first decide Chapman is worth bringing aboard, and then they have to figure out what it is the Reds want and if it matches up with what they're willing to give. It should be noted, though, that if they do want him, they might need to act fast: Peter Gammons reported earlier on Thursday that the expectation is Chapman will be gone by the end of this weekend.