Future uncertain for Reds, Chapman

Closer may face discipline, which could affect his free agency after '16 season

Future uncertain for Reds, Chapman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- On the day after allegations of domestic violence surfaced regarding Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, the ramifications of the report remained unclear.

Among the issues still to be determined are whether the four-time All-Star could still be traded by Cincinnati, whether Chapman will face discipline from Major League Baseball, and if that discipline might affect his free agency following the 2016 season.

In a police report filed Oct. 30 in Davie, Fla., Chapman's girlfriend told officers that the pitcher choked and pushed her against a wall during an argument at his home. The police report, which was first reported by Yahoo Sports on Monday, also alleges that Chapman fired eight gunshots inside the garage of his house.

Incident probe casts cloud over Chapman trade

Although 13 police officers responded to the incident, due to conflicting information from Chapman, his girlfriend and other family and friends at the party, no arrests were made and no charges were brought against Chapman. Chapman's attorney, Jay Reisinger, denied the allegations to Yahoo Sports.

On Monday, the Reds were reportedly close to trading Chapman to the Dodgers for two prospects, but the deal was not completed before the Yahoo story surfaced. Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said the club was not aware of the police report until Monday.

Pursuant to MLB's domestic violence policy, which was enacted in August following a change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the MLB Players Association, the league is investigating the allegations. Chapman is the third player -- after Jose Reyes of the Rockies and Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers -- to be investigated under the new policy.

"We have a policy, and it's good in retrospect that we negotiated with the players and were able to put a policy in place before we had incidents," said Dan Halem, chief legal officer for MLB. "But the reason you have a policy in place is to deal with incidents like this. And we're going to follow the policy and work through it."

Halem said the goal would be to have the matter settled by the start of Spring Training.

"We understand the need to try to complete these as quickly as possible," he said. "I mean, they're serious issues. By the same token, we have to deal with natural obstacles in terms of gathering information. In one base, certainly, there's an ongoing criminal investigation and you've got to work through channels just to get information and, in certain cases, to get people to cooperate. It's not for lack of resources on our part. It's just that sometimes investigations take time."

Part of the reason for that is the ability to gain cooperation from parties to the incident not connected to baseball.

"For third parties, we can't force a third party who's not connected to baseball to speak to us," Halem said. "That's no different from what we deal with in the drug area or the Biogenesis investigation. A lot of times you have to convince people to cooperate with you, which is not so easy. Certainly with respect to the Players Association and players, we do have certain rights to obtain documents and interview witnesses under the control of the Players Association.

"But we don't have any power to have law enforcement cooperate with us. Sometimes they're cooperative, sometimes they're not. There are challenges, but we knew that going in. All leagues know that off-field conduct of this type is not the easiest type of conduct to investigate. But we have a policy in place. We have a very good department of investigations. And we'll get through it."

Torre on domestic abuse policy

Here are other factors involved with the Chapman situation:

• MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre said there is no timetable on how long the investigation might take, or when a ruling on discipline would be made by the Commissioner's Office.

"In the Chapman situation, we did not get that information until late [Monday]. That's the first we heard about it," Torre said. "And obviously it happened, you know, much earlier than that. So it takes time to gather information, and the same thing with the Jose Reyes thing. We want to make sure we have all the information and then the decision will be made. The only timetable is when we feel we've got as much information as we can get."

• Chapman does not have to be charged or convicted of a crime to face discipline from the league. According to the policy, the Commissioner will decide on appropriate discipline, with no minimum or maximum penalty. Players may challenge such decisions to the arbitration panel.

• Jocketty stated that the club did not become aware of the police report until Monday. However, The Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox learned of the incident in November while doing a background check during trade discussions with the Reds. When asked Tuesday, Jocketty declined to discuss the timing of when the team became aware of the incident -- citing the MLB investigation.

• The police report stated that Chapman sustained a laceration of on the knuckle of his left little finger. The injury was not expected to affect the left-hander's ability to pitch in the future.

"I called his agent about it today," Jocketty said. "He spoke to Aroldis and Aroldis said he was fine. They were meeting with him tonight. I said if there was any sign of anything that they let us know and we'll have it checked out. Aroldis told them there was nothing wrong. We'll get that verified tomorrow."

• What responsibility did the Reds have in sharing information regarding the incident with interested clubs and the league?

• FOXSports.com reported that if Chapman is levied a lengthy suspension, it could affect his eligibility for free agency. Currently, he can become a free agent following the 2016 season. But players cannot accrue MLB service time while serving domestic violence suspensions, FOXSports.com noted. Chapman will enter the season with five years and 34 days of Major League service. With a full year of service time being 172 days, he would need to be on an active roster or disabled list for at least 138 days to become a free agent. Any suspension longer than 34 days would result in Chapman falling short of the service time required to become a free agent following the 2016 season.

"The policy gives the Commissioner broad discretion to consider all possible facts and circumstances," Halem said. "I can tell you some facts will be mitigating and some facts, depending on the circumstances, may result in greater discipline. But that's no different from what we typically deal with in discipline cases."

• If Chapman is suspended, or if his market lessens, could the player the Reds were most expected to trade this winter end up opening the season still a member of their club?

With MLB in the early stages of its new policy against domestic violence, Torre was asked if the league faced more pressure when making its decision on players like Chapman.

"The policy has been written, and no, I don't think we feel any pressure," Torre said. "We just want to make sure that we have everything before we come down with whatever decision has to be implemented. So I don't sense there's any pressure, other than paying attention to it and making sure that we do the right thing."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.