With Mark Melancon off the market, the New York Yankees have lost the ability to squeeze out a terrific deal for an exemplary closer.
Well, one of the “Big Three” closers is off the market and quite honestly, the New York Yankees should have been more engaged than they were.
One can safely assume he’ll receive a five-year deal (he’s even asking for six), so he is arguably worth at least $70 million and for a dominant closer with no draft pick attached, he’s the best guy available.
If New York pursues Kenley Jansen, the third head of this monster, they will lose their 17th round draft pick which they won’t be so down to give up.
That being said, they’d unmistakably like to retain that pick, which sits right in the middle of 16 and 18, to continue to support that wave of youth that has made the Yankees such an assuring threat in the long run.
So, yes, they’ll either have to go anywhere from $10-30 million more than Melancon for Chapman or give up a prized draft pick for Jansen — when they could have gotten comparable production out of the newest member of the Giants.
Since 2013, Melancon has maintained a 1.80 ERA compared to Chapman’s 1.93 while giving up three fewer home runs, 59 fewer walks and a higher strikeout to walk ratio in 48 more innings of work.
Melancon also comes up big when it matters the most. Since 2014 the former Yankees’ draft pick has not allowed a single earned run while maintaining an opponent’s slash line of .182/.250/.182.
Chapman’s 100+ m.p.h. velocity brought electricity to this year’s postseason, yet he surrendered six runs in 13 appearances including six walks and one huge home run — a game-tying bomb to Rajai Davis in game 7 of the World Series.
Here’s a comparable chart by FanGraphs that will illustrate just how similar these guys are:
Plus, with money saved by going just $62 million for Melancon, Brian Cashman could have gone out and wheel in a Greg Holland, and possibly Boone Logan, which will provide compatibility to the middle relief unit, a rather dubious unit from 2016.
Imagine those arms mixed in with Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren, Tommy Layne and more to supplement the questionable rotation while improving winning odds more than Chapman could ever do by himself.
Admittedly, it’s fun to have a lights-out closer that could fill some seats and nasty set-up man, but even the three-headed monster wasn’t beneficial when the offense, rotation and other relievers can’t get the job done.
Although an afterthought now, Melancon’s lower salary could have come with the ability to proceed with improvements to other aspects of the team, which is now in jeopardy with the dough that Chapman may come with.
In the end, it really shouldn’t matter. Whether it’s the flamethrowing Cuban or playoff savior (Jansen), the Yankees should have one of them on their roster by the time Spring Training rolls around.
The only question to ask yourself is, will the massive paycheck for an elite reliever expected to be elite as he’s been for six years be worth it? Time will tell, but on Monday afternoon, they missed out on a bargain.