Thoughts following Aroldis Chapman’s suspension

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Yesterday afternoon MLB announced Aroldis Chapman has been suspended 30 games under the league’s collectively bargained domestic violence policy following the October incident at his home. The suspension itself was not a surprise. We just had no idea how long it would be because he’s the first player to be suspended under the policy. There was no precedent. Anyway, I have some thoughts.

1. This is much larger than Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees in the grand scheme of things. A 30-game suspension seems fair to me — I was expecting a shorter ban and I’m glad the league was able to come down harder than I expected because I am generally anti-hurt people — and it sets a tough precedent for the league. Chapman was not arrested, he was not charged with a crime, and there was a lack of physical evidence. The league was still able to suspend him for a month while getting cooperation from Chapman and no fight from the MLBPA. That’s good. A shorter suspension would have been viewed as a slap on the wrist and anything longer likely would have been met with resistance from the union, especially since Chapman’s service time and impending free agency would have been a factor. Thirty games sorta represents the best case scenario for players involved in a domestic dispute. No arrest, no charges, cooperate with investigators, and you’re still getting 30 games. This domestic violence policy has some teeth.

2. The suspension will end up costing Chapman a little under $1.86M in salary and I’d like to see the Yankees do something positive with that money, specifically donate it to charity. Alex Rodriguez‘s home run milestone bonus was donated to charity and domestic violence is about a billion times worse than performance-enhancing drugs. Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation is the obvious fit here. Safe at Home’s mission statement is “edu­cat­ing to end the cycle of domes­tic vio­lence and save lives,” and the Yankees are still very involved with the foundation. Several current and former players attend the gala each year and help raise money. If the Yankees would rather split that $1.86M up among several charities, great. That works too. The Chapman trade came with a lot of backlash — Brian Cashman admitted they swung the deal because the price dropped after Chapman’s incident became public, ewww — and that backlash is not going away because of the suspension. Between this and Lonn Trost telling poor people they don’t belong in premium seats, the Yankees aren’t exactly swimming in positive PR these days. Donating the money to a worthy cause would be a good first step towards salvaging an otherwise ugly situation. A little compassion goes a long way. Don’t put the money back into the roster and in the name of all that is holy don’t just pocket it.

3. Okay, let’s change gears and focus on the on-field aspect of the suspension. Per the terms of the ban, Chapman will be allowed to play in Spring Training — my guess is the Yankees don’t send him on any road trips, the reception might not be so pretty — but not minor league tune-up games once the season begins. That probably won’t be that big a deal. Chapman will be able to work out at the Tampa complex to stay sharp, and once the suspension nears its conclusion, he can pitch in Extended Spring Training games to get some innings in. Those aren’t official minor league games, so I assume this is doable. If not, simulated games will have to do. It’s not ideal but this isn’t a major problem. Chapman’s a reliever. He’s not a hitter who needs to find his rhythm at the plate or a starter who needs to get stretched out. I’m also curious to see how Joe Girardi handles him once the suspension is over. Does Chapman jump right into the closer’s role, or does Girardi ease him back into game action with one or two middle relief appearances before giving him the ninth inning? I guess it depends what the rest of the bullpen looks like at the time.

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

4. Once Chapman returns, I hope Girardi uses him heavily and gets as many innings out of him as possible. I know Girardi goes to great lengths to make sure his relievers are fresh and that’s great, but I say throw all that out the window with Chapman. Give him the ol’ Scott Proctor treatment. Make him the bullpen version of CC Sabathia on the 2008 Brewers. Chapman just turned 28 over the weekend and the guy is 6-foot-4 and 215 lbs. with the physique of a Greek god. The guy is built to last. This is almost certainly a one-and-done situation — all indications are the Yankees will let him walk as a free agent next offseason — so the Yankees have no long-term investment here. Give him a heavy workload — a 30-game suspension means he’ll still be available for 132 games, so get 65-ish innings out of him — and take advantage of the no stings attached elite reliever. Callous? Yes. So be it. Treat Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances with care and let Chapman be the workhorse, then let some other team deal with the aftermath. I don’t think the Girardi and the Yankees will actually do this, mind you. I’m just saying I hope they do.

5. The Yankees came into Spring Training with three open bullpen spots and now it’s four. Miller and Betances are more than fine in the late innings, and Ivan Nova will be the long man assuming everyone in the rotation makes it through camp in one piece. (That’s a big assumption, I know.) My guess right now, a few hours before the Yankees play their first Grapefruit League game, is those four open bullpen spots go to Chasen Shreve, Bryan Mitchell, Nick Rumbelow, and Jacob Lindgren. Shreve gets the first crack at being The Seventh Inning Guy™ based on last year’s overall body of work while Mitchell, a starter by trade, gets an opportunity to show whether he can replace Adam Warren as the Swiss Army Reliever who can go three pitches or three innings depending on the team’s needs that day. The other two guys get the “only when losing” innings out of the gate. The Yankees have a ton of relief candidates in camp and that’s good. They’ll need all of ’em at some point this year. Those four are my picks for the open bullpen spots based on what we know right now.

Aroldis Chapman suspended 30 games under domestic violence policy, will not appeal

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

As expected, Aroldis Chapman has been suspended under the league’s domestic violence policy following an October incident at his home in Miami. Chapman has been suspended 30 regular season games by commissioner Rob Manfred and he will not appeal, which runs counter to what he said a few weeks ago. In the meantime, Chapman will be allowed to pitch in Spring Training games but not minor league games during the season. He’s free to use the team’s complex to stay sharp.

“I asked my staff to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident involving Aroldis Chapman on October 30, 2015,” said Manfred in a statement. “Much of the information regarding the incident has been made public through documents released by law enforcement. Mr. Chapman submitted to an in-person interview with counsel present. After reviewing the staff report, I found Mr. Chapman’s acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate under the negotiated Policy, particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner. I am gratified that Mr. Chapman has taken responsibility for his conduct, that he has agreed not to appeal the 30-game suspension, and that he has agreed to comply with the confidential directives of the Joint Policy Board established under the parties’ Policy to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.”

In addition to the suspension, Chapman must also meet with a treatment board, reports Billy Witz. The board will determine whether any additional discipline is warranted, such as counseling or the relinquishment of weapons. The 30-game suspension will cost Chapman roughly $1.7M in salary and 35 days of service time. That will not delay his free agency. Chapman will still hit the open market next winter. He will be eligible to return on May 9th, for the first of four home games against the Royals.

“Today, I accepted a 30 game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015,” said Chapman in a statement. “I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to my actions, and for that I am sorry. The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration. I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family. I have learned from this matter, and I look forward to being part of the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series title. Out of respect for my teammates and my family, I will have no further comment.”

Back in October police were called to Chapman’s home after his girlfriend alleged he pushed and choked her during a party. Chapman admitted to police he fired eight shots from his legally owned handgun in his garage. Here is the police report. No arrests were made that night and Chapman will not face criminal charges, though Manfred has the power to suspend players under the domestic violence policy even without an arrest or charges. The gunshots all but ensured Chapman would be suspended. Manfred can’t let that go unpunished.

Chapman was one of three players under investigation under the domestic violence policy. Both Jose Reyes (for this) and Yasiel Puig (for this) are under investigation as well, though Chapman is the first to be suspended. Reyes is facing criminal charges after putting his wife in the hospital over the winter. His trial begins in April and MLB has placed him on paid administrative leave for the time being. That is separate from his inevitable suspension. Puig was in a bar fight, though there were no arrests or charges filed.

A 30-game suspension is more than expected, to be honest. I figured Chapman would get 15 games or something like that. Normal usage means the Yankees are going to lose something like 10-12 Chapman relief appearances early in the season, which is no big deal from a baseball standpoint. This was a sensitive subject, and I’m happy the suspension has been handed down and Chapman is not appealing. I can’t imagine anyone wanted this to drag on any longer.

Witz: Chapman would not be allowed to play while waiting for appeal of suspension

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

According to Billy Witz, Aroldis Chapman would not be allowed to play while waiting for the appeal of his suspension under the domestic violence policy. No suspension has been announced but it could come any day now. Chapman said yesterday he plans to appeal any discipline.

Now just because Chapman would have to serve his suspension while waiting for the appeal does not mean the appeal would be a waste of time. The suspension could be shortened, in which case I assume he would be retroactively credited with service time and salary, and each game equals roughly $70,000 in Chapman’s pocket.

Players who appeal performance-enhancing drug suspensions or on-field behavior suspensions (charging the mound, etc.) are allowed to play while waiting for their appeal to be heard. I guess the goal with the domestic violence policy is to make sure the player can’t drag the process out any long than it needs to be.

Witz says in addition to a suspension, Chapman could be entered into a treatment program that would possibly require him to relinquish his guns or even find a new place to live so he’s no longer near his girlfriend. If he doesn’t comply with the treatment program, he could suspended even further.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has indicated any suspension for Chapman would likely be announced before Opening Day, but that’s not a guarantee. Manfred told Mike Berardino he expects “some action” on Chapman’s case in the next couple of days, whatever that means. Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig are also being investigated under the domestic violence policy.

The Yankees seem likely to lose their new closer for some length of time. Maybe a week or two, maybe a few months. Who knows? No player has ever been suspended under the domestic violence policy. There’s no precedent.

Guest Post: The bullpen has the potential to be special, but will it be better than last year’s?

The following is a guest post from Steven Simineri, whose work can be found at Double G Sports, among other places. He’s previously written guest posts on Chris Capuano and Ike Davis.

The new closer. (Presswire)
The new closer. (Presswire)

The Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman to go with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, giving New York all three of the relievers who struck out at least 100 batters in 2015 and arguably the strongest 1-2-3-relief punch since the 1990 Cincinnati Reds “Nasty Boys” trio of Norm Charlton, Randy Myers and Rob Dibble.

Last year, the troika of Chapman, Miller and Betances threw 212 innings, with 347 strikeouts and a 1.66 ERA. They ranked 1-2-3 in strikeouts per nine innings among all major-league relievers, all finishing in the top-7 for lowest opponents’ batting average, and there is no doubt that Chapman has brought a lot of attention toward the Yankee bullpen.

By talent and what you hear on sports-talk radio, the 2016 Yankees bullpen should be one of the best ever and better than the 2015 Yankees bullpen. But on performance, it’ll be hard for this coming year’s group to improve on the group that was. In fact, the Yankees last season were 66-3 when leading through 6, 73-2 when leading through 7, and 81-0 when leading after 8. Joe Girardi’s bullpen was tied for second in all of baseball with 5.3 fWAR. Additionally, by WPA (Win Probability Added), the Yankees bullpen ranked third, at +8.5.

The loss of Adam Warren and Justin Wilson, who combined for 96 1/3 quality relief innings and were worth 3.7 WAR last season, should not be underestimated and one could argue that the addition of Chapman is not as huge as it could have been, with Warren departing for Chicago and Wilson being shipped off to the Tigers.

Moving Warren hurt somewhat, but made sense because of the return. The North Carolina graduate made 17 starts last year and appeared in 26 other games out of the bullpen. He had a 3.29 ERA, the lowest of any pitcher on the team with over 100 innings. Despite yo-yoing between the bullpen and starting rotation, Warren posted an impressive 2.29 ERA and 4.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in relief.

While trading Warren for Starlin Castro was necessary to plug a hole at second base, moving Wilson to the Tigers for two mediocre Triple-A starters – Luis Cessa and Chad Green – seemed questionable. Certainly the two youngsters are under team control for a combined 12 seasons, but Wilson was also a key cog in the 2015 bullpen, posting a 2.69 FIP in 61 innings. He went 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA and 66 strikeouts. He was also able to get both lefties and righties out.

It’s also important to note that Chapman is essentially replacing Wilson. Both are hard throwing lefties with excellent strikeout numbers and the difference between their performances may not be as big as many might think. Wilson finished with a WPA of 2.58, while Chapman finished with a WPA of 2.59. While Chapman was worth 2.5 fWAR last year, Wilson wasn’t far off at 1.5 fWAR. Their Steamer projections also predict a similar one WAR split next season.

On Friday, Chapman and the Yankees avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $11,325,000 — or more than seven times what Wilson will make (with two fewer years of control). Chapman is an upgrade, no question, but by losing the Warren and Wilson, the Yankees will be putting a lot more stress on the top of that pen. And that stress could shift entirely to Betances, Miller, and Chapman. With the two 28-year-olds gone, the question becomes who are now the Yankees’ middle relievers?

Of the organizational products, right-hander Bryan Mitchell and left-hander James Pazos likely will get the best looks. The 23-year old Mitchell can start or come out of the bullpen. Pazos, who appeared in 11 big league games and didn’t allow a run in five innings after Hal Steinbrenner included him in the list of untouchables before the July 31 trade deadline, appears to have a good shot of breaking camp with the big club.

Chasen Shreve and Jacob Lindgren are also left-handers like Wilson. Despite a solid rookie season where Shreve posted a 3.09 ERA, advanced stats suggest that he is good candidate for a sophomore slump and he imploded during the final month of the season. Lindgren, the team’s second-round selection in 2014, has only thrown seven big league innings and underwent elbow surgery last June.

Nick Rumbelow, Nick Goody and Branden Pinder, who all made cameos last season figure to be in the mix. Youngster Johnny Barbato, who was acquired from the Padres for Shawn Kelley, was put on the 40-man roster and perhaps he will get a shot to make the team. It wouldn’t even be shocking to see Kirby Yates, Vinnie Pestano or Anthony Swarzak soak up innings at some point.

Brian Cashman can take a plunge into free agency with a couple of interesting right-handed relievers available. Ground ball specialist Burke Badenhop is still unemployed as March approaches. Veterans Casey Janssen and Ross Ohlendorf can be had. They can extend a minor league contract to Long Island native Joe Nathan, who turned 41 over the winter and underwent Tommy John last April. They can even take a flier on former Met Vic Black, who has battled injuries and control issues.

The Yankees have gotten used to strong bullpens, with Girardi proving himself as a bullpen whisperer. In fact, according to how they’ve actually performed, the Yankees haven’t had a below-average bullpen in two decades. This year should obviously be no different and in the best-case scenario for New York, Betances and Miller lead a bridge to Chapman, turning games into a season-long six-inning affair.

The three-headed bullpen monster creates the potential for an all-time bullpen trio, but it’s no guarantee that this unit will be much better than last years.

Joe Girardi’s Spring Press Conference: Chapman, Tanaka, Castro, Gardner, Ellsbury, More

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Pitchers and catchers reported to Tampa for Spring Training today, meaning the first steps of the marathon that is the 2016 season have been taken. Joe Girardi met with reporters for his annual start-of-spring press conference this morning, and of course he was asked about all aspects of the team.

“Pretty much (quiet). I think it was evidence in the amount of time it took someone to ask a question this morning,” said Girardi when asked about this being a normal camp because they’re no huge stories. “We haven’t had the big story and that’s nice … It is a pretty regular Spring Training. I hope that doesn’t make it a boring Spring Training, but it is regular.”

Normal spring or not, Aroldis Chapman dominated this morning’s press conference, with questions about his pending suspension, the domestic dispute incident, and his role as closer. You can watch Girardi’s press conference right here (it’s chopped up into smaller clips.) Here’s a recap of the important stuff with some thoughts thrown in.

All Things Aroldis

  • On an appropriate punishment: “I think that’s up to the commissioner to decide. That’s not my job. Obviously I wasn’t in the room when they put the (domestic violence) policy together. I have not reviewed the cases … I know it’s very serious and we have to take it very serious. To me, it’s very important when there’s an issue, it’s taken care of.”
  • On behavioral concerns: “Obviously you look at behavioral patterns to see if guys are maturing … We’ve all probably done things in our lives we wish we could do a little differently. I want to get to know him before I really form an opinion about his character. It’s unfortunate sometimes players get labeled before you a chance to know him.”
  • On conduct: “I think there’s an expectation of conduct and how you’re supposed to handle things. The court of law is different than the court of MLB or the MLBPA (or) the public’s opinion. I think we have a responsibility as athletes with the way we present ourselves on and off the field, and I’m okay with that.”
  • On Chapman’s decision to appeal any suspension: “I think it tells you he wants to question the suspension … Does it tell me maybe he (doesn’t think he did) something wrong? I don’t think it says that.”
  • On getting to know Chapman: “I think it’s really hard to form a really good opinion by talking on the phone. There’s some language issues there … He’s very thankful to be here … But until I really get around him it’s really hard to form an opinion.
  • On making Chapman the closer: “He’s been a closer most of his career. It’s (a role) he’s probably most comfortable with. Andrew Miller did a tremendous job … Andrew has been a reliever most of his career — setup guy, seventh inning guy, lefty specialist — I thought it would be (easier for him) to adjust to it better than Chapman.”
  • On the trade itself: “His name was brought up, then it kinda died, then it happened really fast. I had some information about it (but) I was not given much information.”

Girardi danced around any questions regarding Chapman’s domestic dispute incident, which was to be expected. Technically MLB’s investigation is still ongoing and he wasn’t going to say anything remotely controversial. Girardi deflected everything with “that’s up to MLB” and “I have to get to know him,” basically.

I hope commissioner Rob Manfred announces the suspension soon, however long it may be, so Chapman can file his appeal and go through the process. The longer this goes on, the more of a distraction it will be. Let’s rip the band-aid off, so to speak. The sooner we can begin focusing on nothing but baseball, the better. During the press conference you could tell Girardi felt the same way.

The Rotation

  • On Masahiro Tanaka‘s elbow: “We will watch him closely to see where he’s at … We’ll make sure that we put him in a situation where he’s ready to go pitch before he gets into a game. If it takes a little longer, it takes a little longer.”
  • On the fifth starter spot: “I think you have to let things work their way out in Spring Training. I know (CC Sabathia‘s) name has been brought up in that conversation, as well as Ivan Nova. Sometimes things have just a way of working out. The competition just goes way. A lot of times, unfortunately, that comes down to health … The big thing is that we have five healthy starters when we leave Spring Training. That’s my goal. We’ll take the five best starters.”
  • On managing workloads: “I thought putting an extra starter in there helped them … I think just watching them physically and watching their innings (is important). You have to be sensitive to your bullpen that it doesn’t get overworked. I think we were able to manage that because (the young relievers) were able to come up and be interchangeable.”
  • On Luis Severino‘s workload: “I think he’s a guy that can handle 200 innings.”

There were surprisingly few questions about the rotation. I guess that’s what happens when you have five pretty clearly established starters plus a sixth starter who’s been around the block. I don’t buy Sabathia being involved in any kind of fifth starter competition though. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be in the rotation. We all know that. As for Severino throwing 200 innings … we’ll see. I’d bet against it.

The Position Players

  • On Brett Gardner playing hurt: “He actually got hit (in the wrist) in April. This was something he dealt with all year long, and if you remember his July, it was an MVP type of month. Sometimes it’s hard to predict. Was it fatigue? Was it the wrist? Did he just get in a bad way? … Everyone plays beat up, that’s the bottom line. That’s what happens in our game … You hope players are honest enough with you that when it becomes too much, they come to you. He never felt it was too much and we didn’t either.”
  • On expecting veterans to produce again: “I think you can expect it. You have to manage them physically and their workload in a sense to make sure they’re strong at the end of the season. And that’s something when you’re fighting for that spot to get into the playoffs, it gets harder to manage that workload … I think the versatility of our club should help that.”
  • On mending fences with Jacoby Ellsbury: “I have talked to him over the winter … I had a tough decision. Brett Gardner has been pretty successful here too. Maybe he wasn’t as big a free agent signee as Jacoby Ellsbury, but Brett Gardner has been extremely productive in his career. That was a hard decision. I was going to disappoint someone immensely. I did what I thought was best for the team.”
  • On Starlin Castro at third base: “It’s something that I need to talk to him about to see where he is. I have not talked to him. I want to talk to him face-to-face about the possibility of what do we do if we need to give (Chase Headley) a day off. That’s something that will be important when we get to Spring Training to talk about.”
  • On A-Rod: “He is our DH and we expect him to be productive … He’ll be ready.”

I though the Ellsbury question was pretty funny. Girardi was asked about saying he had to mend the fences with Ellsbury but quickly pointed out he never said that. He was asked whether he had to mend the fences at the end of last year, that’s it. He never thought much of it. Girardi spoke to Ellsbury this offseason and this seems like a whole bunch of nothing.

Girardi again made it clear the Yankees want to rest their veteran players as much as possible this season, and he indicated the Castro and Aaron Hicks pickups will allow them to do that. (He also said Castro and Didi Gregorius are young and don’t need as much rest.) He didn’t name names and didn’t explain how he intends to rest these guys, but I think we all have a pretty good idea. We’ll find out soon enough.

Miscellany

  • On goals for 2016: “Our goal is to win the World Series. Bottom line. I appreciate how hard our guys played all year, how they never gave up last year, but you know what? We didn’t get to where we wanted. We lost in the first round of the playoffs … Our goal is to win the World Series. That’s why we come to Spring Training.”
  • On getting over 2015: “It’s never easy … I really don’t get over it until baseball ends. Completely ends. There’s an emptiness inside that you should be there. You try to avoid that one-game playoff and be a division winner. Our first goal is win the division this year.”
  • On biggest spring concerns: “There’s some competition here. When you look at some spots in our bullpen, I think we have to iron that out. And I always have concerns about players trying to do too much. I will let them know you’re not going to impress me in your sides, you’re not going to impress me in the first week of games.”
  • On some new additions: “We added Castro, who gives us an everyday second baseman that has been productive in his career. (This) is a young man that has almost 1,000 hits and is only 25 years old … We added a switch-hitter as an outfielder, which gives us more of an opportunity to rest maybe our two left-handers out there against left-handers more often, in a sense. I think we’re deeper.”
  • On young players contributing again: “You might be a non-roster player, you might be in Double-A when you get sent down, but you may have a chance to contribute … That wasn’t an easy job for the relievers — I was honest with them, I told them what was going to happen — but be the guy what when we make another move, is throwing well … Anything can happen. If you’re in uniform, anything can happen, so give everything you’ve got.”
  • Are the Yankees better than last year? “I think so. I think on paper we are better. Paper doesn’t really mean anything until you go out and compete … I think there’s more depth. I think our younger players in the minor league system have gotten a taste (and are eager to contribute).”

There wasn’t as much talk about young players contributing this year. There’s been a lot of that the last few years. I guess that after last season — Girardi mentioned Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Rob Refsnyder (among others) by name when asked about who impressed him last season — and an offseason in which the Yankees signed zero big league free agents, it’s common knowledge they’re going to rely on young players again. That’s pretty cool. And kinda scary.

McCarron: Still “no firm timeline” for announcement of Aroldis Chapman’s suspension

(Photo via Marly Rivera)
(Photo via Marly Rivera)

There is still “no firm timetable” for MLB to announce any discipline for Aroldis Chapman stemming from October’s domestic dispute incident at his house in Miami, reports Anthony McCarron. No announcement is expected within the next few days. “It’s out of my hands,” said Chapman reporters this morning. He also confirmed he will appeal any suspension.

A few weeks ago commissioner Rob Manfred said he would like to resolve any matters covered by the domestic violence policy — Jose Reyes (for this) and Yasiel Puig (for this) are also under investigation like Chapman — before the regular season, though that wasn’t a promise. This could theoretically linger into the season. I hope note. Let’s get this over with already.

Chapman is being investigated for allegedly shoving and choking his girlfriend. He admitted to police he fired eight shots from a handgun in his garage. No arrests were made the night of the incident and Chapman will not be charged with a crime. The domestic violence policy explicitly says players can be suspended even without an arrest or criminal charges, so it seems like Chapman is facing some kind of ban. I’ve seen rumors of a 15-game suspension floating around.

Brian Cashman admitted the Yankees only acquired Chapman after the Reds lowered their asking price in the wake of the domestic dispute, which is icky. Chapman was set to be traded to the Dodgers when news of the incident broke, then Los Angeles backed away. Cincinnati had little leverage and basically took whatever they could get to rid themselves of the headache.

Chapman, 27, had a 1.63 ERA (1.94 FIP) with 116 strikeouts in 66.1 innings last season. He recently signed a one-year contract worth $11.325M to avoid arbitration. Chapman will be a free agent next offseason, so it’s very possible this is a one-year rental.

Rosenthal: Yankees, Aroldis Chapman avoid arbitration with $11.325M deal

(Joe Robbins/Getty)
(Joe Robbins/Getty)

6:43pm ET: The Yankees have announced the one-year deal with Chapman, so it’s official.

6:39pm ET: The Yankees and Aroldis Chapman have avoided arbitration with a one-year contract worth $11.325M, reports Ken Rosenthal. The two sides were scheduled to go to a hearing next Friday. Chapman filed for $13.1M while the team countered with $9M, so they settled a bit above the midpoint.

I have to say, I’m pretty surprised Chapman’s camp settled. It appeared he had a very good chance to win an arbitration hearing since the Yankees were offering less than a $1M raise. (He made $8.05M in 2015.) Other closers with similar service time like Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon received raises north of $2.5M earlier this winter.

Chapman, 28 later this month, had a 1.63 ERA (1.94 FIP) and 116 strikeouts in 66.1 innings last season. He will become a free agent next offseason and this feels like it will be a one-year marriage. It seems likely the Yankees will make Chapman the qualifying offer and walk away after the season rather than sign another huge reliever deal.

With Chapman signed, the Yankees have now resolved all of their arbitration cases. They previously settled with Nathan Eovaldi ($5.6M), Michael Pineda ($4.3M), Ivan Nova ($4.1M), Dustin Ackley ($3.2M), and Didi Gregorius ($2.425M).