New Chicago Cubs pitcher Aroldis Chapman has been dogged by questions about a domestic violence incident that he was allegedly involved in last fall, but on Tuesday his answers to those questions sparked a bit of controversy as he prepared to make his debut with the team.
When Chapman was acquired, Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts said they discussed their expectations for the reliever in terms of his off-the-field behavior, but he couldn’t recall details when talking to media about the phone call Tuesday.
“It was a long day, he was sleepy, he’s trying to remember what they talked about,” Chapman said through a translator.
While the answer didn’t do anything to satisfy critics of the Cubs’ decision to acquire Chapman, Epstein insisted that the issue wasn’t the pitcher’s response, but rather the translation of what he said.
“(The) call was meaningful to us,” Epstein said. “He was very direct with us as well.”
After Chapman was done talking to the media scrub, he did a one-on-one interview in Spanish with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, and he reportedly gave a more satisfactory answer:
In a statement released to media after Chapman was acquired on Monday, Ricketts said that the team’s management crew discussed their expectations with the reliever, who was embroiled in a domestic abuse investigation over the 2015 offseason.
“Today, prior to completing the trade, Theo, Jed (Hoyer) and I spoke with Aroldis,” his statement read. “I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field. Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.”
Chapman also claimed in statement Monday he "did not excercise better judgement and for that I am truly sorry."
"Looking back, I feel I have learned from this matter and have grown as a person. My girlfriend and I have worked hard to strengthen our relationship, to raise our daughter together, and would appreciate the opportunity to move forward without revisiting an event we consider part of our past," the statement read.
According to NBC 5 Sports, Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts was also consulted by the front office before the team acquired Chapman. A team source also confirmed to NBC 5's Peggy Kusinski that all of the Ricketts siblings were apprised of the situation prior to acquiring Chapman, and all of them signed off on the trade.
Chapman, who played with the New York Yankees before being traded to the Cubs, was suspended 30 games by MLB for the incident, which allegedly involved him choking his girlfriend and firing a series of gunshots during an altercation at the pitcher’s home. Charges were not filed in the incident.