We wouldn't want any sliver of the Aroldis Chapman Yankees experience back. Not one bit. It ended several years too late -- and one might even go as far as to say it never should've started in the first place.
His acquisition was made on morally precarious grounds. Every game with a slim lead was spent dreading his arrival and the various ways in which he might screw things up for everyone. Losses ended with his sneering smile. Wins ended with his satisfaction, which was nearly as bad.
And, for good measure, his one remaining weapon started to disappear during his final seasons in the Bronx. His control was horrifically inconsistent from the jump. His secondary pitches came and went (remember the splitter in 2021 that was supposed to change everything before he just ... abandoned it?). High velocity was always his calling card, until the rest of the league caught up as he aged, rendering his 97-98 less than intimidating.
Chapman's fastball used to be a medical marvel, tripping over 105 MPH on occasion while averaging over the century mark. In 2016, his first season in New York (ultimately split with the Cubs), he averaged a ridiculous 101.1 MPH on his four-seamer. In 2017, when he returned to the Bronx, he settled at 100.0 even.
Since then, though, the pitch has dropped almost annually (his rarely-used sinker, on the other hand, has always averaged over 100 MPH, but he threw it just 57 times in 2021 and 34 times in 2022 as his control dissolved).
In 2021, Chapman averaged 98.3 MPH with his four-seamer. In 2022, his worst season as a regular big leaguer, that dropped to 97.5, as he posted a 4.46 ERA and 4.57 FIP to go with it (and a bad tattoo to boot). That led finally, blissfully, to his departure from New York.
Now in Kansas City, he's ... oh, COME ON, throwing 103.5 MPH again. That was always the logical end to this story, wasn't it? We paid the price. We got his worst. And now he's rededicated to self-discovery.
Former Yankees jerk Aroldis Chapman is back to throwing 103-104 MPH for the Kansas City Royals
Man, where did this guy ever find the Fountain of Youth at the age of 35? Probably legitimate means! Far be it from us to accuse him of doing anything unscrupulous.
Maybe he wants to get out of Kansas City, and is just trying to assure that he's traded to the deadline? Maybe he cares for the first time in several years? If so, thanks, man. Thanks.
Again, we're seen early-season bounce backs before. That world-beating splitter from 2021 resulted in a finger injury and total abandonment. Even if Chapman rejuvenates himself, it's still 1,000 times better that he's doing so elsewhere than still kicking around in the Bronx.
But ... but ... watching him reach these heights and average 102.5 on the sinker and 99.8 on the four-seamer early on was beyond predictable.