The loss of Michael King is going to loom a lot larger than some New York Yankees fans might’ve initially anticipated. You saw what happened during Wednesday night’s Subway Series finale. If King was there, he’d be in for either the eighth or ninth and the game likely isn’t a walk-off loss.
The sole silver lining with King’s injury is that it occurred before the trade deadline, which allows general manager Brian Cashman to make the necessary adjustments for the final two-plus months of the season.
What we know is, this bullpen, as currently constructed, will give Yankees fans blood pressure issues come October. Clay Holmes is the only steady option, with Lucas Luetge’s rebound and Ron Marinaccio’s emergence also calming some nerves.
But if we’re being honest, Wandy Peralta, despite good stats, really isn’t as reliable as we had expected (or perhaps manager Aaron Boone isn’t utilizing him properly). Miguel Castro is a liability. Jonathan Loaisiga is far from his 2021 self. Albert Abreu is solid … until he’s absolutely not. Even Holmes has had a bit of a walk problem lately.
And then there’s Aroldis Chapman, who many fans simply want off the roster — something that doesn’t seem like a ridiculous ask. Is that an option for the Yankees ahead of the deadline?
Would the Yankees attach a prospect to an Aroldis Chapman trade to get rid of him?
Do the Yankees really have time to let Chapman “regain his confidence” — something he hasn’t had since arguably the 2019 ALCS? This is a 34-year-old veteran, not a ripe 24-year-old looking to get back on track from a few bad outings.
Chapman has now been bad for a full 1.5 seasons and the contract extension he signed after the 2019 season continues to look worse and worse. We don’t really need to talk about it much more. Anyway, he’s on the hook for $16 million this year — the final season of his three-year deal — and trading him would relieve the Yankees of ~$7 million.
Would it be out of the question to attach a top-15 prospect to salary dump Chapman somewhere else before the deadline? Maybe a top-20 and a lottery ticket? Are we out of our gourd for even wondering this?
Then, of course, you create another debate in the event Chapman is offloaded: who replaces him in the bullpen? We shall answer that with a question: does it matter?
Chapman’s offered negative value in 2022 (-0.5 WAR) and famously crumbles in high-intensity playoff moments. Is this an asset to the roster? If you’re going to give anyone time to get back in a rhythm and regain confidence, it should be Loaisiga. The Yankees can’t afford to have two former important bullpen pieces soul searching during the second half. Keep one, get rid of the other that carries a bigger salary, and add two more plus Richard Rodriguez come August.
It really doesn’t seem that hard, but it’s certainly something the Yankees won’t explore creative avenues to make happen. Oh well, we can at least dream, right?