Let's go down the list. Who's been a New York Yankee over the last few seasons that either wasn't good in the Bronx or experienced a tough stretch, only to depart and eventually rediscover themselves the moment they put on a new uniform?
Without even thinking, you'd list Aaron Hicks, Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, Andrew Heaney, Thairo Estrada and Nathan Eovaldi. Fill in the rest of the blanks with choices of your own. The list goes on.
Aroldis Chapman recently joined that group with his resurgent 2023 season, which really would've come in handy for the Yankees this year because of their revolving door of issues in the back end of the bullpen.
Once upon a time Clay Holmes was "the guy," but a stretch dating back from the second half of last season into May cast some doubt. Michael King has been lauded as the team's most valuable reliever, only for him to completely melt down in countless important situations over the last two months or so. Wandy Peralta's peripheral metrics suggest the next few months may not be great. Ron Marinaccio is mired in a sophomore slump.
Somehow, the Yankees managed to maintain MLB's best bullpen ERA in the first half, but it didn't exactly translate to the results that the team or fans were expecting, especially now that July's been a struggle.
As for Chapman? Humming along in Texas after a good first few months with the Kansas City Royals. Why? Because he clearly made a mechanical adjustment to his windup that has helped him maintain a 2.04 ERA, 1.42 FIP and 1.08 WHIP with 63 strikeouts in 35.1 innings -- and, yes, a return to his velocities of the past.
Is the Yankees' coaching staff the biggest problem after Aroldis Chapman resurgence?
Was this the original Anthony Volpe chicken parm story? No Yankees coach had watched tape to help Chapman as he battled control issues over his last two years in New York? Or, if they were watching, they were unable to spot what was wrong or incapable of implementing a change?
Chapman's baseline stats told the average fan exactly what he was struggling with. He registered career-worst WHIPs (1.31, 1.43) in 2021 and 2022, career-worst FIPs (3.99, 4.57) in 2021 and 2022, a career-worst K/9 (10.7) in 2022, and the second-worst BB/9 rate (6.9) of his career (also in 2022, with his worst coming in his first full season back in 2011).
Chapman destroying the Tampa Bay Rays was a sight to behold, but watching him do so as a member of an AL contender who is now reaping the benefits of his rebound, made possible by a rudimentary coaching process, is frustrating after all fans endured between the 2019 postseason and the conclusion of the 2022 regular season.
Fans know there's a specific mentality that's needed to play in New York, but with so many talented players either regressing or simply losing their abilities during their stops with the Yanks, many can't help but think it comes down to a lack of touch from the coaching staff.
After watching the countless baserunning and defensive blunders this year, too, there's clear evidence that something's broken and nobody's fixing it.