1. Aroldis Chapman
Will the Yankees try to get Aroldis Chapman to waive his no-trade?
If the Yankees could get rid of Aroldis Chapman, they would.
Which is why it’s eternally confusing that, on the cusp of entering money-saving mode, they instead opted in to Chapman’s onerous contract at the end of 2019 when they were given the opportunity to escape paying a closer $17.5 million against the luxury tax annually.
If the Yankees wanted to behave like the Dodgers? By all means! It’s not our money! Pay anyone anything!
But to enact austerity measures for Gerrit Cole’s prime after choosing to pay a premium for an aging closer? Of the many moves that don’t make sense in retrospect, this lands towards the top of the list.
Chapman is locked in place for the next two seasons, during which the Yankees hope he doesn’t regress tremendously, while also praying for him to find a way out of his postseason home run-allowing streak. Unable to consistently blitz 105 mile per hour fastballs past hitter after hitter, Chapman has now had to adjust and develop his splitter and slider. While still a great pitcher most days of the week, he is no longer an entirely unique force all his own. Every bullpen has at least one Chapman, and there’s no reason to pay a premium for this one.
Armed with a no-trade clause that will likely keep him in his preferred home in the Bronx for the next two years, Chapman probably isn’t going anywhere.
But in terms of potential salary dumps, there isn’t anyone else on the Yankees who’s valuable enough — and in such a precarious position on the depth chart — to make any sort of sense in a trade. Perhaps the Yanks luck out by talking Chapman with another contender the All-Star closer is willing to pitch for.
They’re certainly hoping for it.