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Yankees Finalize Great Mid-Season Trade With Aroldis Chapman Signing
- Updated: December 8, 2016
Late Wednesday night, multiple sources reported the New York Yankees had agreed to a 5-year, $86 million deal with closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman was the top priority for New York this offseason after the success he had with the club during the first half of the 2016 season. Between his tenure with the Yankees and the Chicago Cubs, Chapman racked up 36 saves and 90 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched.
Although Chapman struggled during the playoffs, he was still the most sought after free agent reliever in a strong market. The hard-throwing lefty has reportedly agreed to the largest contract a reliever has ever signed; which broke the long-standing record of Mark Melancon’s deal from Monday. The contract also includes a player opt-out clause after the third year of the deal and a no-trade clause for the first three years of the deal.
How good is this signing for the Yankees? It is fantastic for two reasons. The first reason is the obvious one of signing a high-profile closer. Chapman is now paired back up with Delin Betances to form 2/3 of No Runs DMC again. The combination of Betances and Chapman will look to lock down any lead that makes it past the 7th inning. Add Tyler Clippard (who is a great reliever as well) to that mix and the Yankees go into the 2017 season with one of the most formidable bullpens in baseball. Reportedly, the Yankees are looking to add one more reliever to the bullpen. This will most likely be a lefty, such as Boone Logan.
What is the second reason that the Chapman signing is fantastic? It puts a nice bow on the best deal that was made during the 2016 season. Back in late July, the Yankees made a deal that sent Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for Gleyber Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney, and Rashard Crawford. At the time, that trade was great for both teams since the Cubs received a lockdown closer (which was their weakness up until that point) to help them win a World Series. Meanwhile, the Yankees received the Cubs’ best prospect and an MLB reliever to add to their bullpen. The rumblings were that the Cubs might have overpaid for a “rented” player, but their World Series win hushes those thoughts.
Now that Chapman has re-signed with the Yankees, it makes New York the biggest winner from a trade in a long time. The Yankees traded away a player for two months to receive one of the best prospects in baseball. Now that player has returned to the Yankees, which means the Yankees essentially allowed the Cubs to borrow Chapman in exchange for a potential future star. This is not a knock against the Cubs. Torres’ potential did not fit into their future plans since their oldest infielder is 27 years old. However, it is undeniable how successful Brian Cashman was with this deal.
Shortly after the trade, there were reports that Chapman would consider returning to the Yankees in free agency. What would have made this whole situation better would be if the Yankees still had Andrew Miller, but I digress. The Cubs made this deal with the Yankees knowing that they would not retain Chapman during the offseason. They needed to make this deal to help them win the World Series. Thanks to that need, the Yankees made off like bandits.
In addition to receiving Gleyber Torres, the Yankees received Adam Warren in the deal. Warren is a solid piece to the bullpen, especially for this coming year. With a shaky starting rotation, the Yankees have a need for a reliever the caliber of Warren. When he rejoined the Yankees, he pitched to the tune of 3.26 ERA in 30.1 innings. Warren gives the Yankees an option as the “bad start” reliever to take over a game that a starter cannot make it past the 5th inning. His time with the Cubs may have been poor, but he was a welcome return to the Yankees pitching staff.
The future for the Yankees is looking bright. A two-month rental allowed the Yankees to add Gleyber Torres to a prospect pool that is now loaded with top young players. Any person who may be critical of Brian Cashman needs to look at this trade and signing for a counter argument to their complaints. It is not often a team re-signs the player that they traded away mid-season, especially not after receiving so much for said player.
With the need at DH and closer addressed, where to the Yankees go from here? As mentioned earlier, there is still a need to add a situational lefty to the bullpen. That will probably be the next free agent move that the Yankees make. In terms of trades, do not be surprised if the Yankees make a trade for a starting pitcher. If it does happen, it will not be a massive deal like the Boston Red Sox trading for Chris Sale. Any starting pitcher that the Yankees might add this offseason will slide into the third spot in the rotation. The focus of Brian Cashman should still be in the pitching market.