Connect
To Top

Two red flags could spoil Aroldis Chapman Episode II

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — A trade fell apart involving the Dodgers and Reds at the winter meetings last year that would have sent Aroldis Chapman to Los Angeles. It collapsed because the Dodgers backed out after learning Chapman could be facing domestic-abuse charges in Florida.

It is always worthwhile to remember how this began, not to lose sight that Chapman ultimately would serve a 30-day suspension under the domestic-abuse protocols. I never want to minimize that reality, that Chapman accepted the punishment and that it is part of his permanent legacy.

It also started a cascade of events that pretty much has worked in the Yankees’ favor.

They decided to accept the risk and negative public relations of acquiring Chapman late last December for a meager package, so desperate was Cincinnati to move the closer. The Yankees essentially bought a dollar for 10 cents.

Chapman accepted his punishment and was viewed by both management and his teammates as a low-maintenance good teammate.

Chapman appreciated the atmosphere around him and loved being a Yankee. He performed superbly on the field. The Yankees were just borderline contenders and decided to be sellers at the deadline. The Cubs, without a championship since 1908, viewed closer as their weakness. So Chicago was willing to include Gleyber Torres as the key to a package for a few months of Chapman.

Torres, at age 19, would go on to be the MVP of the Arizona Fall League and probably will be one of the majors’ top 10 prospects in every major list released before spring training. And, now, the Yankees have re-signed Chapman for five years at $86 million. This would be the baseball version of having your cake and eating it too.

But will the winning streak continue? Chapman had every reason to be on his best behavior last year, what with the domestic-abuse incident and being in his walk year. Plenty of teams, the Cubs included, shied away from him in free agency, concerned his demons would emerge on a long-term contract.

There also is a question of his sustainability. Chapman is a freakish athlete — strong enough that sluggers did not want to lift with him in the weight room and outfielders did not want to run against him in spring, all to avoid humiliation. But every arm has a warranty, and the Yankees just invested five years and $86 million in a pitcher who throws triple-digits on every day that ends in “y.”

But they also invested in a dominant guy that — who knows — might team with Torres some day to help the Yankees do special things. Chapman is one of the handful of great relievers in the game with Andrew Miller and Zach Britton and Wade Davis. He is a pitcher fans want to watch and a closer who allows the Yankees to put Dellin Betances where they prefer, setting up, all to lessen the burden on a rotation that will be filled with injury red flags and youngsters.

Chapman’s return to the Yankees is richer and far less ignoble than when he joined them initially. Now, the tough part. Can the marriage work as well as it did the first time around?


Comments

comments

More in MLB

Copyright © allsportsintheworld.com


Follow @all_sportsworld X
X