Count me among those who frown on intradivision trades. Rarely does swapping players between teams in the same division make sense—why should the KC Royals, for example, help an American League Central rival?
Our friends at Puckett's Pond, however, a sister site of ours on the FanSided network covering all things Twins, have an idea that renders me willing to consider an exception. Writing there recently, Josh Hill reports Minnesota is thinking about acquiring resurgent Royals reliever Aroldis Chapman.
And why not? The Twins currently have a slim edge in the notoriously weak AL Central, and Chapman makes sense for a club that will need a high-quality closer as the summer progresses and the playoff race intensifies. Despite some bad moments in May, he's regaining his stature as one of the game's better relievers, looking more and more like he used to before his disappointing 2022 campaign with the Yankees. He boasts a nice 2.82 ERA, a couple of saves, 38 strikeouts in 22.1 innings (15.3 K/9), and is again blazing away in the 100's.
But is dealing Chapman within their division a sensible move for the Royals?
Why the KC Royals shouldn't shy away from trading Aroldis Chapman to Minnesota
My two cents worth for KC general manager J.J. Picollo: Go ahead and pull the trigger. Trade Chapman to the Twins.
Why? For one thing, dealing Chapman to anyone fits the Royals' obvious plan for Chapman perfectly. Picollo didn't sign him for the long term—from the start, Chapman has been a short-term bullpen piece, one to help out for a half-season before a prospect-netting trade deadline flip to a contender.
And for another, moving Chapman to a division rival, whether it be Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago or Detroit, just doesn't matter this season. Simply and sadly put, the Royals aren't going anywhere this year: 29 games under .500 after Sunday's 11-3 blowout loss to Baltimore, this is a club whose fate of a 100-loss season is all but sealed, with a return to contention much more likely for 2025 than 2024. Even if Chapman becomes a Twin and helps beat Kansas City several times before the 2023 campaign ends, it will be of no real consequence to the Royals.
So, why not talk to Minnesota if you're J.J. Picollo? There's no reason not to. None at all.