Yankees DFAing Aroldis Chapman would be too little, too late, too weird


New York Yankees fans’ long Aroldis Chapman nightmare may be over sooner than anyone expected, but forgive us if we’re sort of missing the point here.

As the Bombers blitz toward the postseason — playoff spot clinched, AL East close — it’s officially time to pare down the roster to only its most essential elements. Ironically, this is the most unsettled the bullpen has been in ages, with closer Clay Holmes struggling more often than not and Jonathan Loaisiga, Ron Marinaccio and Lou Trivino all looking various levels of trustworthy.

If there was ever a MOMENT for the OLD CHAPMAN to show up and shine, that moment has very much arrived. And yet … coming off a midsummer IL stint, the ex-closer has looked worse than ever after a brief, mid-August rainbow featuring nine straight scoreless outings from July 26 to Aug. 13.

That line in the sand is drawn, conveniently, directly before his terrible extra-innings outing against the Rays that preceded Josh Donaldson’s narrative-swinging walk-off granny. Since that moment, he’s only made four more appearances:

  • Two walks, a hit and an earned run in 0.1 innings in a 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays
  • A scoreless inning with a walk in a feckless loss to Milwaukee
  • A scoreless inning (and the win!) in the 9-8 Judgian/Stantonian Blast Game against Pittsburgh (of course, he came in down 8-4 just for funsies)
  • And, finally, an awful third of an inning against the Red Sox Thursday night featuring two walks and a whiff in a game the Yanks trailed 4-3

Is there a place for Chapman on the postseason roster? Not if the Yankees still consider every last member of the unit to be important. Sure, you could bury him, but … is he entering a non-blowout? Is there anything he can show over the next 10 games to earn that designation? No way, no how. So, what do the Yankees do? Just tell him to sit down? Or eject him from the 40-man entirely with a DFA?

According to Joel Sherman, it’s under consideration.

Yankees want to DFA Aroldis Chapman with 10 games left? Lit.

Here’s what Sherman wrote in his latest postseason roster projection:

"Which brings us to Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees are at least contemplating whether to designate him for assignment. Essentially, the question is whether they believe they can straighten out his delivery and confidence in the waning days of the season and — even if there are positives — whether they would trust him enough with his vacillating performances and control to put him on the postseason roster. Because, if not, he too is a free agent after the season and there are no plans for a reunion."

What’s the takeaway here? “No plans for a reunion” rang out like joyous Christmas bells, and feels like the most important tidbit.

In reality, Chapman might not make the postseason roster — and shouldn’t, after another walk-marred outing against the Sox in the series opener — but what would a DFA really accomplish? An extra kick in the pants on the way out the door? There’s nobody else the Yankees need to sneak onto their 40-man at the moment.

DFAing Chapman after his long, tattoo-riddled layoff in Aug. might’ve made some sense, but to do it when September ends, Green Day-style, feels ceremonial and highly un-Yankee-like.

He won’t be here next year. That’s the most important part of this particular blip in the news cycle. A DFA would be icing on the Roster Crunch-flavored cake, but icing that would’ve tasted better midway through the summer.