Three National League contenders are expected to be aggressive in pursuing the New York Yankees rumored top target this winter, closer Aroldis Chapman.
The New York Yankees have made no secret of their interest in reuniting with former closer Aroldis Chapman this winter, and the feeling is apparently mutual, as the Cuban Missile recently told Ray Negron of NY Sports Day that he would “love to be a Yankee again.”
That doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing that Chapman ends up back in the Bronx, however, as several other big-market clubs appear to be gearing up for a serious run at the best available pitcher on a very thin pitching market.
In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe names three of the top contenders in the National League, the Nationals, Giants, and Dodgers, as New York’s primary competition for the world’s best reliever. Cafardo also notes that he’s “not completely sure whether the Cubs are out of the picture.”
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None of those names should be a particular surprise as all four clubs have shown interest in Chapman in the past. The Nats, Giants, and Cubs were among the teams who tried to acquire the closer at last year’s trade deadline, while the Dodgers reportedly had a deal in place last winter that would have brought him over from Cincinnati before the domestic violence allegations that resulted in his 30 game suspension emerged.
Washington is expected by many rival executives to be one of the most aggressive buyers on the market this winter after once again being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Joel Sherman of The New York Post spoke to one American League exec who said, “They are thinking big things,” and went on to link them to Chris Sale, Yoenis Cespedes, Kenley Jansen, and Chapman.
The good news is, even if the Yankees fail to land Chapman, there are plenty of other attractive free agent options available to upgrade their bullpen. Aside from the big three of Chapman, Jansen, and Mark Melancon, sleeper arms like Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara, Neftaili Feliz, and Joaquin Benoit could also help.