Chicago Cubs’ free agent closer, Aroldis Chapman is being eyed by the Yankees.
It may be a tad too soon to read the tea leaves, but there are indications that Aroldis Chapman, 28, the hard-throwing lefty reliever, of the Chicago Cubs could be re-signed by the New York Yankees.
Several articles recently came out in the New York press that said Chapman would like to return to the Yankees and that the Yankees would be happy to resign him. At first glance, the issue is money. And the Yankees have the dollars to spend to get Chapman.
In essence, it would be a win-win for Chapman. He came to the Chicago Cubs in the second half of last year’s season and made a splash with his blinding fastball, clocked at 104 mph.
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He earned a World Series ring, and now is a free-agent and can command a large payday, close to $100 million for a reported five years.
That the Yankees can likely meet. The Cubs spent a ton of money last off-season, to the tune of $290 million dollars and might not be buyers this winter. The Cubs made out well, renting a bonafide closer and winning a World Series title.
Chapman had 20 saves for the Yankees after he served a 30 game ban on a domestic abuse issue. The Yankees made the trade last summer and received a boatload of talent, four Chicago Cubs players, including Gleyber Torres, who is starting to make a name for himself in The Bronx.
Once he came to Chicago, Chapman was terrific during the regular season, earning a 1-1 record and 16 saves with a minuscule ERA of 1.01. He had 46 strikeouts and walked ten hitters. He regularly wowed the crowd at Wrigley Field with his blazing fastball.
Then came the playoffs where he walked a tightrope. He was hittable in the playoffs, giving up run-scoring hits to the Giants, and Dodgers. In the World Series, he was used to the hilt, Joe Maddon called his name in the 7th inning in Game 5, almost hurting his ankle on a play at first base. In Game 7, he appeared again.
It seemed that Maddon had lost trust in just about everyone else in the pen. Chapman had lost his velocity on his fastball and relied heavily on his slider. He had thrown close to 94 pitches in the Series. In the eighth inning, he gave up a two-run blast that tied the game and sent shivers to Cubs fans.
However, he retired the side in the last of the ninth, pitching on “fumes.” It was a great escape. Then came the rain, which psychologically altered the game for Chicago. The Cubs rallied to win in the tenth inning.
Chapman, never really let his emotions show until that after infamous eighth inning. It was reported that he was upset over giving up the home run, and teammates were said to have told him, “We got you, Chappie.” When the game resumed he looked more composed and seemed a part of the team as the Chicago Cubs put on a rally for the ages.
It is not known what moves the Cubs will make to replace Chapman if he does leave the club. Free-agent reliever Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers is on the market, and he will command a great deal of money.
The Cubs have a series of decisions to make. Do they re-sign Chapman or use the front office brainpower to come up with a closer solution? If they don’t re-sign Chapman, what steps will they take?
That’s why they call this downtime, the “hot stove league” – decisions to be made, and right now, we don’t know the answers.