Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has a perfect opportunity to take his three-game suspension right now and drop the appeal.
The Yankees appealed on behalf of Aroldis Chapman in an effort to get his three-game suspension for buzzing Michael Brosseau reduced, because that’s kind of just … what you do these days when suspensions get handed down.
But Aaron Boone’s recent quote about Chapman’s appeal raised alarm bells, making it seem like the type of thing that could inexplicably linger into 2021, a hammer always waiting to drop.
While some might view it as a good thing that Chapman might avoid punishment altogether into next season, there’s also a good chance that isn’t the case, and a three-game ban could materialize right before the playoffs. So why not control the situation and take the medicine now, while Chapman is already quite gassed and could use a few days off?
Chapman pitched back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday, looking noticeably depleted the second time he took the mound, throwing a few 94 MPH fastballs, an extremely out-of-character velocity under any circumstances.
If Chapman had simply taken a three-day break starting Saturday, he could’ve gotten his ducks in a row and karmically accepted his punishment on at least one day he wouldn’t be pitching anyway. Zack Britton can more than handle himself in the event of an absence, and Adam Ottavino and Jonathan Loaisiga are peaking, too, seemingly ready to return to higher-leverage situations.
But if the league mandates his suspension for, say, the season’s final three games against Miami, then he’ll be entering the playoffs cold. And we all know what that can look like. A too-rested Chapman has been the Yankees’ downfall countless times over the past several years.
Even delaying the inevitable to 2021 isn’t a great option — who knows when the punishment will be handed down, even if it’s shortened? An important game? A big series? Sometime when the team, no doubt, would prefer to have their All-Star closer.
Chapman should’ve taken the days off at Fenway, rested the suspension out, and come back rocking and firing for Game 2 in Buffalo. Instead? We don’t know anything, and have to rely on MLB instead of dictating the narrative.