Nobody knows what Andrés Chaparro can be at the major-league level. Nobody knows whether his potent bat could help a team desperate for an infusion of offense -- so desperate, in fact, that they're willing to call up rookie after rookie down the stretch in hopes that even a single one latches.
But, if anyone finds out next year, it won't be the Yankees.
After risking it all and leaving Chaparro, a slugging third baseman with an atypical build and sterling exit velocities, unprotected last winter from the Rule 5 Draft, the Yankees lucked out. Nobody else was willing to risk an MLB roster spot on him. New York had gambled on a 20-homer bat with a .963 OPS at Double-A and won.
His 2023 season wasn't quite so exemplary, but by the end of the campaign, he'd fought out of a massive early season homer rut. The counting numbers were there. 25 bombs and 89 RBI at Triple-A. The OPS was down to .775. The strikeouts rose from a remarkably low 54 at Double-A to 131 in Scranton. And (sigh) ... if the Yankees weren't willing to protect him at his peak, why would they protect him after he'd sunk somewhat?
New York sent a fleet of minor-league fillers and once-upon-a-time prospects into minor-league free agency on Tuesday and, hidden in the laundry list, Chaparro elected his freedom.
Yankees send Andrés Chaparro into minor-league free agency
So ... so that's a no on protecting him in the Rule 5 Draft, then?
Also notably on the way out is righty Aaron McGarity, who began the season as a "mystery pitcher" in a primetime spring training contest who immediately surrendered a homer. We dubbed him "McLongball," he saw it, loved it, and gave us the time of day for a little bit. He's a good dude, and here's hoping someone else gives him a shot.
Chaparro is the clearest prospect loss of the group, even though no one in MLB seems willing to take a chance on a bad-body masher who grips it and rips it. Maybe it's time for the righty swinger to put out a memo to executives across the game reminding them the DH spot exists. In both leagues now, actually.
Man, right-handed, swings from his heels ... how did the Yankees not give this guy a shot?