The 2023 MLB season has long been over for the Kansas City Royals. And that is quite an achievement considering their residence in baseball's most pitiful division, the American League Central. More growing pains were expected for this young roster, so a 22-55 record is hardly an eye-opener. However, the resurgence of embattled reliever Aroldis Chapman has been a delightful surprise. One that the Royals can use to their advantage ahead of the MLB trade deadline.

For fans who struggle to invest in a season solely to witness the development of Bobby Witt Jr. and a few others, the focus now shifts to general manager J.J. Picollo. His phone is already busy and should remain so until Aug. 1. He holds one of the most annually desirable assets around this time of the year: Bullpen help.

After enduring a rough 2022 with the New York Yankees, Chapman has returned to his All-Star self. He currently has a 2.73 ERA and an impressive 48 strikeouts in just over 26 innings pitched. The walks are still high, but the advanced metrics are better nearly all across the board. If this holds up, the 35-year-old can be a significant addition to a contender with a suspect or fragile bullpen.

He has done it before and will be asked to do so again in 2023. The only question is where will that be? It's been a while since we discussed possible trade destinations for the 2016 World Series champion. Here are the updated, three best landing spots for Royals reliever Aroldis Chapman going into the trade deadline.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

Honestly, I'm a bit surprised Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes has not already made this happen, given the tinkering that the organization has been doing with its bullpen lately. The only explanation is that the front office does not want to pay top-reliever trade value for someone who they are unlikely to turn to in the eighth or ninth innings. That is fair, but with the constant pressure that surrounds the Dodgers, they must aggressively seek a solution to the National League's statistically worst pen.

That's right, KC and LA's relief units have almost identical ERAs. Take a few seconds to process that one, Bleeding Blue. Yikes. Chapman is flashing top closer stuff for the first time in three years. Dave Roberts can have his pick between him, fellow flamethrower Brusdar Graterol and Evan Phillips late in games. That sounds like a potential solution at worst and an abundance of riches at best.

The Dodgers, however, pride themselves on their deep farm system and probably want to work out the bullpen kinks in-house. They can take that safe route without incurring the wrath of their fans, but if this team remains in third place in the NL West in late-July, panic might be setting in for the organization. And KC will be there to lend some support.

Texas Rangers

Despite being without Jacob deGrom for most of the season, the Texas Rangers have held strong with a six-game divisional lead over the Houston Astros. Moreover, their bullpen has been solid. But being content is not something this organization understands after all the money it spent in free agency the past two offseasons. Texas should indulge its impulses and go all in at the deadline.

Bruce Bochy did not come out of retirement to manage an upstart group. He gets out of bed for World Series rings and this team is starting to legitimately have that look. The Rangers' run differential is better than the Tampa Bay Rays and breakout candidates are living up to the bill. They just need some more postseason experience to bring it all together.

Aroldis Chapman had his struggles with the Chicago Cubs during their title run, but he can still be a crucial postseason piece and a fine lead-in to closer Will Smith. The AL West is grueling,, and it should get even more challenging. Chris Young and this gambling front office is in prime position to make another big splash on the market.

Philadelphia Phillies

It feels like bullpen reinforcements is always on the Phillies' need list around the MLB trade deadline. It came through in their 2022 NL Pennant run, but one must not tempt the baseball gods. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is more comfortable than maybe anybody else is about spending other people's money to build a championship-level roster. He might be just the right guy to agree to Kansas City's steep terms for the seven-time All-Star.

Chapman and Craig Kimbrel being on the same team would probably evoke mixed reactions from fans, considering their sometimes erratic nature, but the southpaw is looking steady these days with the Royals. Furthermore, he instantly becomes one of the most reliable options at manager Rob Thomson's disposal. The velocity is firing at all cylinders and batters are hitting just .174 while slugging .207. This is the old Chapman at work.

If his body can remain under this state of denial the rest of the year, then he can be a playoffs X-factor for any of these three teams. It may not work out, but big expectations demand big moves. Believe it or not, trading for the Cuban Missile in 2023 can qualify as just that.