Aroldis Chapman really thought he could get the last laugh on Yankees fans by deserting the team before a playoff run, signing with the Kansas City Royals, getting dealt to the contending Texas Rangers, bending but not breaking during the month of October, then winning the World Series, huh? Well he, uh ... he did, he probably laughed a lot last year. But the fun is over now, king!
Chapman entered this offseason with relative momentum, following a 2.45 ALCS ERA against the Astros, which seems materially impossible even as I type it. If Chapman were still a Yankee, approximately eight additional moonbombs would've left Minute Maid Park on his watch. But he wasn't. And they didn't.
And, somehow, no one wanted to ride the lightning with him next season, even after watching him find an additional gear in Texas. Except the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates can't patch together a rotation. The Pirates can't figure out how to supplement their young offensive core in free agency. But the Pirates sure as hell can cobble together $10.5 million to offer to 36-year-old Aroldis Chapman, which is exactly what Chapman reportedly accepted on Monday.
Former Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman accepts big pile of money to get stuck in Pittsburgh
The question isn't, "Why Pittsburgh?" The question is, "Where will Chapman be playing on Aug. 2?"
Pittsburgh, much like Kansas City last season, does not feel like Chappy's ultimate destination, as long as he's able to hold together the sinew and bones of his terrifying left arm for a few more months. For now, he might as well take $10.5 million to go on a veritable spring retirement tour, collecting the kind of checks the league's cheaper franchises are legally mandated to spend.
We expected it to end like this for Chapman, but it felt like he had at least another year in the thick of things for a slightly smaller guarantee. Nope. Either David Bednar is getting flipped to the Marlins for starting pitching, or Chapman's going to have to get used to noncompetitive baseball and fries on sandwiches. And we wish him whatever the exact opposite of luck is.