The Los Angeles Angels have been fighting an uphill battle in the AL West all season long with the Texas Rangers in control seemingly from the jump, and it'll only get harder as the Rangers have acquired Aroldis Chapman in a trade.
Chapman, one of the best relievers ever, was seemingly on the decline during the end of his Yankees tenure before suddenly bouncing back and looking closer to the dominant fireballer he once was as he's had a great season with the Royals.
Chapman comes with his baggage, but he'll make a big impact in a Rangers bullpen that desperately needed improvement. We know all about their rotation and lineup, but the bullpen was the one weakness. Now with Chapman, it definitely looks better, and they didn't even give up much of anything.
Rangers continue to make LA Angels path to a division title an uphill battle
The AL West division isn't out of reach for the Angels, but their inconsistent play makes it feel that way. They're six games back and have proven they can beat the Rangers. With Texas aiming to fix their biggest weakness, their bullpen, the division becomes harder to get. The worst part about it is the package feels kind of light.
Chapman is enjoying a resurgent year, posting a 2.45 ERA in 31 appearances. He has a whopping 53 strikeouts in 29.1 innings of work. He's walked 20 and has a 1.227 WHIP which are high figures, but he's given up just 16 hits and no home runs. Walking a batter and striking out three is still a very productive inning.
Texas gave up left-hander Cole Ragans and outfield prospect Roni Cabrera. Ragans, a former first-round pick, is 25 and has a 5.32 ERA in 26 appearances (nine starts). Cabrera feels like the best piece they got, and he's a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. Cabrera is not one of the Royals top-30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline, and who knows if he'll ever amount to anything.
I don't know if Perry Minasian even made a call to the Royals for Chapman considering we're still a month away from the deadline, but this felt like a price they certainly could've beaten. The Angels gave up more to acquire Eduardo Escobar who's a solid player but isn't the difference maker Chapman is. With the bullpen showing improvements it's not as awful that they didn't get him, but the Angels could still use another reliever.
The moral of the story here is Texas got stronger and didn't have to give up much of anything to do so. Not great news for the Angels.