Yankees: 3 Relievers That Could Serve as Closer With Aroldis Chapman Out

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Aroldis Chapman will miss the start of the Yankees season after coming down with COVID-19.

It seems Saturdays in July aren’t good for the New York Yankees. Last week on July 4, Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head with a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton. This week on July 11, Aroldis Chapman tested positive for COVID-19 and manager Aaron Boone said the closer would be away from the team for the “foreseeable future.”

That means there will be some reshuffling in the bullpen, but that’s not something Boone isn’t used to. It’s happened the last couple years due to injuries and ineffective play, and we’re going to see the same again at the onset of 2020.

So who on the roster is capable of taking over the closing duties to start the season? There are a few obvious choices, but perhaps things can get interesting.

Adam Ottavino #0 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Adam Ottavino #0 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

3. Adam Ottavino

Adam Ottavino was a lights-out setup man for the Rockies before coming to the Yankees.

Though Ottavino faltered down the stretch in 2019 and was largely unreliable in late-game or high-leverage situations, the man still has nasty stuff capable of closing the door on the heart of an opposing lineup.

He only has 19 saves to his name, but an ankle-breaking slider and a career 3.44 ERA (with 552 strikeouts in 479.1 innings) is enough to take over as the 9th-inning man.

The right-hander had the best year of his career in 2019 with the Yanks. He recorded a 1.90 ERA in 73 games and struck out 88 batters in 66.1 innings. Maybe it’d be a good idea to throw him in some high-stakes situations early in the year to prep him for the bright lights of the postseason.

Whatever Boone decides to do, Ottavino at the very least is a tremendous Plan B.