It is a known commodity that the New York Yankees are big spenders when it comes to off-season acquisitions. Dating back to the early 2000’s, the Yankees have spent an absurd amount of money on free-agents who have failed to pan out. Carl Pavano, A.J. Burnett, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Giambi, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran are just a few free agents that have fallen flat on their faces in Yankee pinstripes. The salaries of these players total over half a billion dollars.
The Yankees were back at it again this off-season with their free-agency signing of Cuban flame-thrower, Aroldis Chapman. Chapman inked a 1 year 11.325 million dollar contract with the Bronx Bombers after six great years with the Cincinnati Reds. A few weeks after the signing of Chapman, reports surfaced that Chapman was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend, where he allegedly fired gun shots and choked her in his Davie, Florida home. After these reports surfaced, the MLB handed down a 30 game suspension to the new New York Yankee for violating the leagues domestic violence policy.
Chapman is the hardest throwing pitcher in baseball history, topping the gun at 106 MPH. Imagine stepping in the box and having to face a guy who can break the sound barrier with a pitch and then follow that with a sharp 90 MPH slider dipping down and away from righties and into the ankles of lefties. If there is one pitcher that players don’t want to see coming out of the pen, it would be Chapman. Over his 6 years with the Cincinnati Reds, he was named an All Star 4 times and finished with an ERA of 2.17. Chapman also tallied 146 saves and 546 strikeouts. Of course the suspension of Chapman for 30 games is a loss for the Yankees bullpen. But is it really that big of a deal?
Dating back to last year, the Yankees were ranked with the 16th best bullpen in the league…an impressive feat for a group of young and inexperienced arms. With another year under their belts, the sky could be the limit. For the first 30 games, Andrew Miller will be heading the pen as the closer. Miller’s first year as a closer went better than expected. The tall, lanky left-hander recorded 36 saves, had a 2.04 ERA, and a WHIP of 0.86; beating out Chapman in both saves and WHIP.
Behind Miller in the pen, the Yankees have Dellin Betances. This young stud has been huge out of the pen for the pinstripes. In 2015 he had a 1.50 ERA, had a WHIP of 1.01 and held batters to an average of .157.
Both Miller and Betances have the ability to be top of the pen guys. Both have lively fastballs and outstanding off-speed pitches. These two have the capability to carry the bullpen for the first month and a half of the season before Chapman comes back from his suspension.
Of course the addition of Chapman adds amazing depth to the Yankees bullpen. The presence of Chapman alone could bring the Yankees into consideration of having one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. The trio of Betances, Miller, and Chapman could be unstoppable. But is Chapman just going to become another Carl Pavano or Jason Giambi? Chapman is already off on the wrong foot in New York but time will soon tell if the Yankees made the right choice in their quest for their 28th World Series Championship.