Yankees Sign Aroldis Chapman to Record-Breaking Contract


The New York Yankees have agreed to a five-year $86 million contract with their top target of the offseason, closer Aroldis Chapman.

The New York Yankees finally got their man. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports broke the news late Wednesday night that the club had brought former closer Aroldis Chapman back into the fold with a five-year $86 million deal.

The contract shattered the record for the largest guarantee ever given to a relief pitcher, easily passing the new $62 million mark set by Mark Melancon and the San Francisco Giants just days earlier. Jonathan Papelbon‘s previous record had stood for nearly five seasons.

Although Chapman and his camp were floating the idea of a six-year deal that would top the $100 million mark, ultimately the closer actually signed for less than major outlets like MLB Trade Rumors and FanGraphs predicted for him.

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The surprisingly reasonable total guarantee could be a reflection of the fact that Chapman managed to land an opt out after his third season, allowing him to hit free agency again after his age 31 season.

Honestly, I think this opt out benefits the Yankees as much as Chapman here. While there’s always the chance he gets hurt or struggles and the team is stuck with him, much more likely this is a three-year deal for them, which is exactly what I’d feel comfortable giving him in an ideal world. If it all works out, we get three peak seasons from the best reliever on the planet at a fair rate and then let him walk.

The move restores two-thirds of the No-Runs DMC unit that was so dominant in the first half of 2016. Chapman put up a 2.01 ERA and 1.93 FIP in 31.1 IP while striking out 36.7% of opposing batters during his first stint in pinstripes before being dealt to the Chicago Cubs at the August 1st trade deadline.

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Dellin Betances will presumably now slide back into the fireman role in which he’s been so valuable the last few years, with Chapman taking over as closer. The Yankees have Adam Warren and Tyler Clippard in the late-inning mix as well, although rumors indicate they’d like to add another lefty reliever like Boone Logan.