For a second there, Aroldis Chapman appeared to be “back” for the New York Yankees, which was bringing the bullpen situation into focus as injuries began to pile up and regressions continued to take shape.
Before that, though, some fans had wondered if the Yankees were going to find a way to dump Chapman at the trade deadline by attaching a prospect to a deal and offloading his salary. It wasn’t out of the question — but it wasn’t entirely likely.
Nonetheless, that never happened, Chapman’s “return” ended up being a faux stretch of play, and now he hasn’t pitched since Aug. 19. He’s now had SIX straight games off, which is worth wondering if he’ll get designated for assignment regardless of how you look at the situation.
Four out of the six games were tight, so it’s understandable why manager Aaron Boone may not have wanted to use the left-hander in such high-leverage situations in which the Yankees desperately needed victories.
But what about the 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays where the Yankees were dead in the water because they couldn’t score even if they began each inning with a runner on third base? What about the 13-4 blowout over the Athletics on Thursday night? Yankees Twitter is now buzzing about the possibility of Chapman being axed from the roster.
Why hasn’t Aroldis Chapman pitched for the New York Yankees?
Didn’t we specifically say relying on bounce-backs from Chapman and Jonathan Loaisiga was as irresponsible as it gets?
The problem with Chapman is his diminishing velocity, which takes away from his novelty/dominance as a reliever. His off-speed stuff was never part of his repertoire, and to completely reinvent yourself as a pitcher while also dealing with injuries is hardly a recipe for a return to form.
At the very least, fans have to wonder if something is wrong with Chapman due to this long layoff. After nine straight scoreless outings, he appeared in two games and totaled one inning of work and allowed three earned runs on two hits and four walks. He hasn’t seen the mound since.
Is he a valuable member of the bullpen? Does anyone see him logging high-leverage innings when October rolls around? What’s the point of him on the roster? Clay Holmes is out and Chapman’s still not closing games. Nestor Cortes hit the IL on Thursday, Clarke Schmidt slotted into the rotation which further thinned the bullpen, and Chapman hasn’t seen work the last two nights.
Something’s afoot, whether it’s an injury or the Yankees mulling over a roster move, and fans might be hoping for the latter (though it’s probably unlikely) because nobody can handle another meltdown on his end again.