The No. 1 rule of Aroldis Chapman, as the Yankees learned very well in hundreds of different ways before, after and during his tenure: It can always get worse.
When the Yankees finally let Chapman walk this season, it came either three or six years too late, depending on who you ask. The reliever finally wore out his welcome not because of the blown 2019 ALCS/2020 ALDS or all the baggage he brought with him to New York in the first place (which lowered his price and facilitated the very embarrassing trade), but because of his behavior following a tattoo infection midseason.
After struggling with his control for the majority of the campaign, Chapman succumbed to an infected piece of artwork in August, and when he returned just before the playoffs, he demanded assurances he'd be placed on the postseason roster. After receiving no such thing, he bolted for Miami, never to return.
If Chapman had simply ... not thrown a hissy fit, he likely would've made the roster and gotten a chance to end the 2022 season, too; Scott Effross' Tommy John surgery threw a wrench in the team's plans last-minute. Alas ... he bungled it. Shame.
This season, the Yankees finally let their high-priced closer walk to a bounce back opportunity with the Kansas City Royals, a team that is probably hoping to trade him to some other sucker at this year's deadline. Chapman's 2023 season has been delayed a bit, though, after a slip-and-fall at his home over the weekend that required stitches and resulted in a tooth crack. Alright.
Former Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman injured in fall at home
Add in the pitch clock, which he's been delayed in learning, and betting on Chapman doesn't seem like a sound strategy this summer.
Throughout his career, Chapman has been one of the chief offenders of taking too long to deliver the baseball to the plate. Every piece of his complex mechanical uncoil must be absolutely on point; otherwise, the ball often winds up in the netting behind the plate -- or somewhere far worse, that'll crack a couple of teeth on the way. Hell, sometimes his windup is on point, and that still happens.
Last season, Chapman's extended gather gave him the seventh-worst pitch tempo in MLB, and it's certainly in his best interest to work out his personal kinks on the mound sooner rather than later.
Or, you know, maybe he becomes frustrated with the Royals' refusal to guarantee him the closer role after falling in his home and leaves camp entirely. It's happened before.