2. Aroldis Chapman
OK, maybe Aroldis Chapman is the only one who actually needs to perform akin to what he’s being paid … because he’s the highest-earning closer in the game and is the third-highest salary on the Yankees payroll for next year. If anyone’s at fault, though, it’s the Yankees for paying him that much and giving him power to reject any trade when it was obvious he’d be regressing.
He’s been losing velocity on his fastball for a few years now. He was rewarded with an extension after blowing the 2019 ALCS in spectacular fashion. He then followed that up with two career-worst seasons and another playoff fumble (Mike Brosseau, come ON!).
So if Chapman is going to be the closer in the Bronx, there are certain expectations, and we cannot apologize for Mariano Rivera existing. The left-hander doesn’t need to be Rivera … but he can’t send us packing two years in a row in a humiliating manner without begging for forgiveness.
Since 2020, he’s 7-5 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 74 games (68 innings). Really good! But if we went down the list and referenced the blown games, coupled with his career-worst 3.99 FIP in 2021, it’s just not sufficient for his $16 million salary when everyday guys are playing in double the games and logging 10 times the innings and making less.
If we can sacrifice some of Chapman’s regular-season success for a lights-out-ish playoff run, that trade-off will be well worth it.