Aroldis Chapman was unbearable for fits and spurts throughout his Yankees tenure, but the left-handed “closer” was very clearly at his worst in 2022, in between bouts of rehab for an ill-advised tattoo.
For the first time in New York, Chapman subtracted WAR from the team in 2022 (-0.2 bWAR), even though he unofficially subtracted entire playoff series in 2017, 2019 and 2020. When he was actually with the team, he posted a career-high WHIP of 1.431, a far cry from even 2019, when he sat comfortably at 1.105 (How?).
The last time Yankee fans will ever see Chapman on the mound in their uniform occurred on Oct. 4, 2022, when he breezed through the Texas Rangers, whiffing two men in a perfect inning. It seemed his role on the postseason roster had been secured by default, following an injury to Ron Marinaccio … until Chapman went AWOL after the Yankees couldn’t give him the same assurance. A fitting ending.
Because, at the moment, Chapman’s market is as stagnant as the brackish water underneath a leaky cooler of Mike’s Hard, and fans had better hope some talent-starved team (like the Miami Marlins) takes a chance on the 34-year-old before the Yankees are tempted to repair the relationship for a few million dollars.
Aroldis Chapman Free Agent market: Please, not Yankees!
In short, Kenley Jansen signed before the other marquee closers, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman, because Jansen is still solid if not elite, while Kimbrel is erratic and Chapman is unpitchable.
Someone looking for a wild card will take a chance on Kimbrel. Who, in good conscience, can take a shot on Chapman? His personal issues are well-documented (and were the reason the Yankees were able to “opportunistically” trade for him in the first place. Recent friction between Chapman and the team was caused by far less nefarious actions, but he still had only himself to blame.
On MLB Network, Alex Avila categorized Chapman’s market as, “For sure there’s gonna be a team that will come. Who it is, I have no idea.” Not exactly typical for someone who was an All-Star as recently as 2021.
Dan Plesac and the crew countered by laughing about how that market would contain any team but the Yankees. And if that’s true, that would be very nice. The Marlins could be a fit, considering Chapman fled to Miami last fall when the Yankees knocked him off the ALDS roster. Maybe a perpetually stuck-in-the-middle team looking for a spark like the Twins and White Sox, a roster flush with a Cuban pipeline.
The Yankees’ initial acquisition of Chapman was all about cursed opportunity cost, though, and now, the closer with the still-electric fastball is once again at his lowest point. Hopefully, Brian Cashman sees this as a bridge burned and not a buy-low opportunity for a redemption story nobody wants.