That the Red Sox were looking to trade for a closer was never much in question. Who they were going to land, however? That took longer to figure out. Before the Red Sox made the move to get Craig Kimbrel from the Padres, it seemed like then-Reds closer Aroldis Chapman would be the man to finish games for Boston. But abruptly the Sox stepped back from Chapman, made a deal with San Diego, and didn't look back.
Eventually, however, word of Aroldis Chapman's domestic violence got out, and it became clear that the Red Sox had dropped trade talks with Cincinnati when a background investigation turned it up. Now Chapman has received a 30-game suspension under the league's domestic violence policy. There will be no appeal.
It must be said: the number of games Chapman will miss isn't the reason the Red Sox should have avoided this trade. Aroldis Chapman is an excellent closer, but I'd much rather root for someone else, and not be the team allowing him the glorifying stage that is the pitcher's mound.
But the suspension is important. It's especially so because this is the last year of Chapman's contract--the only year the Yankees traded for--and it's now been cut down by nearly 20%. It's important because it will mean Chapman has to enter the middle of the season cold. It's important because it means the Yankees won't be able to keep the load as light as they'd like on Chapman's future partners in the back of the bullpen.
And it's important because all these "important" things cost the franchises that employ players who get suspended for something like this. It costs them wins. It costs them money. And that provides an incentive for these teams to keep their players from committing domestic violence, and to avoid signing players who have a history of domestic violence, and to generally make this league a place that clearly does not tolerate domestic violence. We are clearly not there yet.
Aroldis Chapman is the first player to be suspended under the league's domestic violence policy. Unfortunately, he will not be close to the last. The less willing teams are to look the other way in such cases, the better. Hopefully the Red Sox will continue to push that trend in the right direction.