Rumors and speculations have been making their way around the New York Yankees world on whether they’ll be sellers at the deadline with Aroldis Chapman being one of the major names thrown around.
Could the league’s most ruthless bullpen become one of the biggest trade chips when the season approaches August 1? For the New York Yankees, many rumors have been bringing that fantasy into more of a reality as they have been included in many of the pre-deadline talks so far.
The most common rumor is that the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs have demonstrated a severe interest in New York’s flamethrowing closer, Aroldis Chapman, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
According to the report, the Nats’ main priority is supplementing an already stellar bullpen with an impact reliever like Chapman or even Andrew Miller but there are many slippery slopes to a deal that may involve the two.
For what it is worth, the Nationals’ current closer Jonathan Papelbon has made his way onto the disabled list and the team is in urgent necessity of bullpen help but the report states that they are “not willing to pay the acquisition costs for a late-inning force, anyway.”
On the other side, Cubs’ bullpen currently consists of Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Trevor Cahil, Travis Wood, and Justin Grimm so while adding Chapman would make them essentially untouchable (the Cubs have the fourth-best bullpen ERA in NL) they don’t have a necessity there.
Another tough thing for the contending Cubs is, who will they be satisfied with parting with? One of the big names that have flown around is Javier Baez, who can play a few different positions (short, second, and third) but has a .222 batting average in his first three years in the show.
Sure, he does seem to be turning the corner as he owns a .740 OPS in 47 games this year, but the Cubs don’t seem to be ready to move on from someone with so much promise that they have had in their organization since 2011 for a rental.
The thing about the Cubs is, their farm system is starting to go dry and whoever they do have, like Wilson Contreras and Ian Happ are considered too steep of a price to pay for a half year of Chapman.
In addition to the price being a tad too high for either team rumored to be involved, there is no way on God’s Green Earth the Yankees will sell. Why? Because they are the New York Yankees and there is no way the organization that cares more about winning than anyone else would trade the most striking component of their team in a division that still has no clear favorite.
They are the friggin Yankees. They will not call this season a lost cause without fighting until the last day of the year. Trading Miller and/or Chapman will cause a team, that is only 5.5 games back and trending upwards (have won six of their last ten), to fall completely out of contention.
Since Chapman has joined the Yankees upon reinstatement from a domestic violence suspension, they are 20-14 after starting the season 11-18. Translate 20 wins in 34 games into a full season and that’s 95 wins. The New York Yankees are a dynamic ballclub when their “three-headed monster” is at their disposal.
Plus, look at their upcoming schedule. From now until the All-Star break New York will square off against the Colorado Rockies (30-33), Minnesota Twins (20-43) and the San Diego Pardes (26-39) twice to total a .398 winning percentage. Their next 11 games will be played against the Rockies and Twins (combined 49-76 record).
There is no reason not to believe that New York can take advantage of this weak schedule and pull within a game, or even be at the top, of the AL East by the midsummer classic. That doesn’t sound like a seller to me.
Recent history also tells us that the chances of the Yankees selling are disturbingly low. As Jared Diamond pointed out in his column for the Wall Street Journal, in 2013, the Yankees were 8.5 games out of first place when they decided not to deal soon-to-be free agent Robinson Cano in favor of sending out an underperforming team for a playoff run.
They ended up missing October baseball for the second time since 1993 but they proved that even a Yankees’ team that had their lineup feature Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, and Travis Hafner wasn’t a team ready to sell.
The most the Bombers will do this trade deadline is stand pat and let their current roster attempt a run at the postseason. As mentioned, they are evidently a playoff team with Chapman in the ‘pen.
Sell? To the organization, these rumors are not only false, but simply asinine.