The Yankees got the guy they wanted. Aroldis Chapman, who the Yankees traded away to the Cubs at last July’s trade deadline, is heading back to New York on a record five-year, $86 million contract.
It was evident based on Dellin Betances’ struggles in the ninth inning the Yankees desperately needed another dominant reliever in the back-end, and that’s exactly what Chapman provides.
Since Chapman was traded during the middle of last season, the Yankees do not have to surrender the 16th pick in the draft, an added bonus to the move and something the team would have had to give up in order to sign Kenley Jansen.
Chapman’s addition allows Betances to shift back to the eighth inning, where he’s proven to be significantly more effective. Betances has pitched to a 1.65 ERA in the eighth inning (120.1 innings) and a 4.29 ERA in the ninth inning (50.1 innings).
Betances moving back to the eighth shifts Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren to the seventh inning, and the Yankees can now continue experimenting with Luis Severino with the hopes that he can regain his dominant starting pitcher form. And if all else fails, Severino will be moved back to the bullpen permanently where he has excelled.
Perhaps the best part of the Chapman move is the fact Brian Cashman traded him at least year’s trade deadline, and got the Cubs’ No. 1 prospect back in 19-year-old phenom Gleyber Torres. Torres recently won Arizona Fall League MVP, and is regarded as one of the game’s best prospects.
While the trade played a large role in the Cubs winning the World Series, the Yankees essentially sacrificed a few wins and losses in a lost 2016 season for Torres and Chapman. Not a bad play at all by Cashman.
It’s hard to believe the Yankees were able to sign Andrew Miller as a free agent for four-years at $36 million just two years ago, but the market for dominant relief pitching has soared in the past few months, and if the Yankees were going to sign Chapman, this was the price Cashman had to pay.