The New York Yankees have missed the playoffs in three of their last four seasons, and while big spending has been less and less part of their M.O., trying to get under the luxury tax threshold, it’s not going to be surprising to see them try and go after Aroldis Chapman.
Dellin Betances right now looks like the closer for next season, but the Yankees might shake things up. Betances was third in the bullpen order behind Chapman and Andrew Miller during the regular season, but after both of them were traded, got himself a promotion, which was only natural considering his age and salary, with the Yankees looking for more prospects to try and improve their farm system and set themselves up for a big trade heading into the offseason.
But Chapman is a free agent, one of the most lucrative potential signings in the 2016-2017 winter. He has a 1.55 ERA with 14 strikeouts per nine innings this season, with 36 saves in 39 save opportunities. He did slightly better after joining the Cubs from the Yankees, and is currently playing in the postseason with Chicago. He made $11.3 million last season, while being suspended 30 games for a violation of the offseason personal conduct policy: Domestic violence, although he wasn’t convicted.
Chapman is going to be costly, which might clash with the plans the Yankees have for their payroll, although they do have contracts expiring, and as usual with old players and the Yankees, those deals help them get rid of a lot of money from the books. Another problem will be competition: It’s hard to believe heavy spenders like the Los Angeles Dodgers (with Kenley Jansen also becoming a free agent), Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox won’t try to land him as well. Throwing 100 mile-per-hour pitches isn’t as rare as it used to be, but Chapman, right now, does it better than almost anyone across the major league bullpens.