By Ernie Palladino
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Now the Yankees get their hands dirty and throw mud on all those World Series trophies.
They send peanuts to Cincinnati for a troubled, 27-year-old closer named Aroldis Chapman and hope everybody understands that Brian Cashman did what he did for the good of the team.
Just like Jerry Jones signed Greg Hardy for the good of the Cowboys.
The only difference here is that Chapman hasn’t yet been charged for the alleged Oct. 30 choking of his girlfriend and the squeezing off of eight gunshots in his garage afterward. The lawsuit may yet come, as might a lengthy suspension from Major League Baseball.
If the league’s investigation does uncover enough evidence to warrant banishment, the Yanks will simply wait it out, get by with an already imposing late-game duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, and then install Chapman at the tail end of it to give the Yanks baseball’s most fearsome, hard-throwing 1-2-3 punch for the final 120 games. And if it all works out right, the Yanks will win the AL East, make a deep postseason drive, and perhaps wind up with their 28th World Series title.
By then, nobody will care whether the left-hander choked his lady, emptied a magazine, or ran the length of Broadway naked while singing the Cuban National Anthem for that matter.
The kid’s a lefty who throws 100 MPH.
That’s all that counts.
It is the sporting landscape now, a tired story that probably won’t change anytime in the near future, despite the protests of those who expect objects of their rooting interest to possess social consciences, too.
The pending legalities kept the Dodgers from working a blockbuster trade for Chapman at the Winter Meetings. But let’s face it, they can afford to have a soul. They won their division last year.
The Yanks, like the Cowboys, were fighting to regain their standing as a divisional power. We all know how the Hardy signing worked out for Dallas. They went into the dumper, anyway, and Hardy embarrassed them further by confronting the special teams coach after Dwayne Harris’ 100-yard kickoff return at MetLife Stadium.
But Jones came to Hardy’s defense on that one, passing off his tantrum as passionate leadership. The fact was that Hardy got sacks. Jones didn’t sign him to make nice with anybody, much less his girlfriends.
The Mets kept Frankie Rodriguez around after he went after his girlfriend’s father in the clubhouse in 2010. That turned into a PR mess, and they traded him to Milwaukee in July of 2011. The very next year, K-Rod was arrested for a domestic violence complaint involving his girlfriend.
The Brewers still have him. And he’s getting them wins with 82 saves over the last two years.
The Giants didn’t sign defensive lineman Christian Peter in 1997 because they wanted to reclaim the convicted sexual assaulter’s soul, but because he could play football and help the team win. That was after New England drafted him in the fifth round and cut him less than 48 hours later as women’s groups flew into a rage.
Hardy? He beat his girlfriend and threw her on a stack of guns on the sofa.
This has been going on a long time. The Yanks are simply the latest team to dirty their hands with this business.
And if Chapman does work out, this trade will be heralded as one of the great steals of history: four nothing minor leaguers for the all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings (15.4); another left-hander who pushes the speed gun to triple digits; an addition who, with Betances and Miller, can extend the bullpen’s dominance and take all the pressure off a physically shaky group of starters.
For that, Cashman will gladly tolerate any lost time from a suspension, regardless of length, any anger from the women’s groups.
Shameful? Yes. But it’s the way of the sports world now.
Cashman was just the latest to buy into it.
Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino