Another top-tier relief pitcher is off the market. Ken Rosenthal of FOX SPorts reports that Aroldis Chapman has signed a five-year, $86 million contract with the New York Yankees. Chapman joins Mark Melancon, Kenley Jansen, and Joaquin Benoit as relievers joining new teams this offseason, though for Chapman it is more of a reunion. The Cuban flamethrower will anchor the back end of New York’s bullpen and gives the team serious hopes to contend in 2017. The contract includes a three-year no-trade clause, and he cannot be traded to a team located in California.
BREAKING: Chapman to #Yankees, five years, $86M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2016
Aroldis Chapman Signs with Yankees
World Series Champion
Chapman is coming off another fantastic season split between two teams. He began the season with the Yankees before being dealt to the Chicago Cubs midseason. Between both teams, Chapman posted a 1.55 ERA in 58 innings over 59 games. The ERA was the second lowest of his career, after a 1.51 ERA in 2012. He also notched 90 strikeouts against just 18 walks.
The acquisition of Chapman had mixed results for Chicago, but he was ultimately instrumental in Cubs World Series comeback. Chapman appeared in 13 postseason games and went 2-0 with an ERA of 3.45 and four saves. He did blow two saves, including game seven of the World Series, but it was apparent the heavy postseason workload wore him down. Chapman’s 2016 will be remembered as a fantastic season that ended with a championship ring.
Area of Concern
The biggest area of concern for Chapman remains his control. Chapman has a higher strikeout per nine innings for his career (15.2) than Melancon (8.2) and Jansen (13.9). The problem is Chapman’s walks per nine innings (4.1) is also higher than that of Melancon (2.0) or Jansen (2.6). The reward outweighs the risk, as Chapman is virtually unhittable when able to locate his 100+ MPH fastball and nasty slider. There is a reason the Cuban is one of the most imposing pitchers in the game.
Chapman should be a fantastic signing over the course of this contract. The Yankees will not have to worry about the ninth inning in close games. New York must still establish the pieces that will get a lead heading into late-game situations, but Chapman will lock down a lead if he gets one.