Despite the fact that the New York Yankees have dealt star closer Aroldis Chapman, they have yet to give in on calling this season a lost cause.
After all, New York has just traded away a star closer who owns a 3-0 record that is supplemented by a 2.01 earned run average, 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings, a career-low 2.3 walks per nine innings, and 20 saves in just one more opportunity.
Disregard the principles of acquiring Chapman back in December, the Yankees have stealthily added to the talent level in their organization.
This offseason, they bargained four mediocre prospects for a price-reduced star closer. Now? They hypothetically got a half year of Chapman, a dependable second baseman in Starlin Castro, Adam Warren, top Cubs’ prospect Gleyber Torres, the Cubs’ fifth-best prospect Billy McKinney and a player yet-to-be-named. What a haul.
However, fans cannot grasp just how their Yankees would give up on 2016 – especially when the state of play has been positive.
Over their last nine games, New York is 7-2 which happens to be the best record in all of Major League Baseball during that span while scoring 29 runs and giving up only 14.
Despite the fact they have only gained two games in the American League East, the Yankees are only 4.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.
New York was also 39-30 from the time Chapman was reinstated from suspension until he was dealt again, so why would general manager Brian Cashman get rid of someone who helped his team return to relevancy?
Reason number one was the return the Bombers received, which was already mentioned. The goal of the organization is to stockpile youthful talent which severely lacks throughout the farm aside from big names like Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, and James Kaprielian.
Adding the likes of the top prospects of an organization known for spitting out talented young bats with the core group the Yankees’ farm system has established is nothing less than a positive note.
To those who say taking the future into consideration over now must understand that wheeling in young athletes with the highest of ceilings is critical because they are the nucleus of a team with future pennants and championships in the near future.
For now, it looks like a terrific deal. Of course, only time will tell if this is a home run but the best part is they haven’t quite raised the white flag on the 2016 season.
For those who got too high on the “Three-Headed Monster” and left the dominant pair in the past, remember when they led the Yankees to an 87-win season and their first playoff appearance since 2012 just a year ago?
In 2015, Betances and Miller combined for a 1.73 earned run average and struck out 231 of the 578 batters faced. With Miller as the closer, New York owned a .814 winning percentage.
Fast forward to this year. Chapman was named the closer but the dominance of the dynamic duo never escaped as they maintained a 45% strikeout percentage heading into the series against Houston – a number that won’t change with the absence of Chapman.
Additionally, New York’s winning percentage in games when their now former closer appeared in was only at .806, eight points lower than when Miller is the closer.
Sure, that’s not far off, but the point is that despite the fact that Cashman just dealt one of baseball’s hottest and most valuable commodities away, it won’t hurt his Yankees.
If the team we have seen over the last nine days is what these Yankees rightfully are, then they will triumph with the two elite arms they previously possessed. Furthermore, Chapman was only icing on the cake.
Sure, he was on the clearance rack, but New York wanted to make a filthy bullpen even filthier. They did that and while Chapman could only improve a marvelous ‘pen, it’s fantastic to know that their bullpen is still presumably the best in the bigs.
Consider that and the fact that your farm system has been hastily stacked with youthful talent and this trade looks even more like a haul.
As the Yankees reached three games over .500 for the first time this season, hopefully fans will apprehend that this move allows for a solidified organization. Who knows, maybe the duo with the exclusion of Chapman can propel them to an unlikely postseason berth.