Yankees: 3 contracts on payroll holding the team back right now

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Aroldis Chapman #54 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

2. Aroldis Chapman’s 3-year, $48 million deal

Yankees fans would argue Aroldis Chapman is not worth $16 million per year.

Aroldis Chapman has been the Yankees’ closer for four-plus seasons. He’s recorded 114 saves and appeared in 211 games. He has a 2.54 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over that span. But he’s been a disaster in the postseason outside of the 2017 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians.

Chapman’s deal isn’t bad, but the Yankees reworked it last offseason to give him another year and another $16 million. Why? He just blew the 2019 ALCS. Two years prior, he blew Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS that cost the Yankees dearly. And he did it again in the 2020 ALDS.

Don’t let his career 2.40 ERA in 35 postseason games fool you. He nearly blew Game 7 of the 2016 World Series for the Chicago Cubs. He couldn’t keep the game TIED in those three contests he blew for the Yankees since 2017. Six saves vs three blown games. Not a good ratio. At all.

The Yankees aren’t paying for regular season dominance. Yes, that helps for sure, but you can’t be the third-highest-paid reliever in the game behind Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen (both of whom you’re probably better than!) and fail at that rate in October. We know the list of top-end relievers is very short and Chapman is still arguably the best in the game, but something isn’t working, and paying $16 million for a guy who only comes in to pitch one inning may no longer be worth it.

We see many other bullpens across the league built (and successful) on a budget of Chapman’s salary. Why can’t the Yankees do that?