Since Aroldis Chapman’s departure from the Bronx, he’s said he wants to return. But is pursuing him a smart move for the New York Yankees?
Once a New York Yankees closer and now a dominant closer for the contending Chicago Cubs, Aroldis Chapman has had a taste of success this season. When the Yankees decided to make moves at the trade deadline, Chapman was shipped off for four players.
However, since Chapman didn’t sign an extension just yet with the Cubs, fans have been keeping high hopes for a return to the Bronx. Chapman himself expressed interest in a potential reunion with his Yankees teammates as well.
Chapman’s trade was followed by the loss of Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians and, unfortunately, the end of one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball. With Chapman, Miller and Dellin Betances in the back-end of the ‘pen, the 2016 Yankees were the first team in MLB history to boast three pitchers with at least 100 strikeouts the prior season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
While Betances remained in New York, his exhaustion caught up with him at the end of the season, leaving fans questioning if he has what it takes to be a closer in the Bronx spotlight.
If the Yankees are going to seek out Chapman again this offseason, they will have to deal with far more competition than last December. Chapman’s numbers have only gotten more dominant in his stint with the Cubs.
The 28-year-old Southpaw has stifled batters in the National League. In 26.2 innings pitched, Chapman allowed 12 hits and four runs. His impressive 1.01 ERA is only surpassed by his astounding 46 strikeouts in 28 appearances.
Let’s face it; Chapman is not just good, he is great. The problem with bringing Chapman back is that it won’t give Betances a chance to work through the struggles he faced at the end of the season as a closer.
Maybe having Chapman in the Bronx again will help Betances relax a little bit, but another benefit is that it would turn Betances back into the set-up man he has been for the majority of his career, where he has had dynamic success.
Betances’ numbers are good. He’s a strikeout artist with a blazing fastball and dominating curveball. He has certainly done a great job in keeping New York in the playoff hunt this season. The problem is in the final stretch of the season when he can’t seem to finish off a game…and that is exactly when the Yankees need him most.
That reason is exactly why the Yankees should work at pursuing Chapman once again.
If Chapman is willing to make the transition back to the Bronx, the Yankees should take a shot. Especially with the new bullpen narrative that is playing out this postseason, the Yankees could benefit from having another strong arm in the ‘pen to use in any situation.
Who knows? Maybe having two relief pitchers capable of closing close games could allow them to have a little more strength that would cut out some of the weaker middle relievers. Plus, bringing in more dominant relievers earlier in the game could help the Yankees secure a few more close victories.
While the cost for Chapman might be expensive, it would be worth it. While the main focus on the offseason for the Yankees should be to pick up a reliable starting pitcher and a consistent bat, this would be a pick-up that would benefit them all the way to October.
Think about it: bringing back Chapman would make the bullpen a threat to be taken seriously. And when teams can finish off a game with a 1-2 punch like Betances and Chapman, the victories will be that much sweeter.
Chapman has only gotten better in his time with the Cubs. Betances has thrown up impressive numbers but could use another power arm in the bullpen. Bring Chapman back and the Yankees will make a legitimate run in the Chase for 28.