New York Yankees: What To Do With Aroldis Chapman

Jun 9, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees closing pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees closing pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Yankees have a little over a month to figure out what to do with Aroldis Chapman. Whether they decide to trade him or retain him, they are in the drivers’ seat with plenty of options.

The New York Yankees are in uncharted waters. By the time July 31 rolls around, they may be in prime position to sell. Although they only stand five-and-a half games back from first place, the Yankees haven’t been able to get over and stay over the .500 mark all season. The starting pitching has been middle of the pack with a 4.36 ERA which is good for sixteenth best. The bullpen as a whole has also been average with the back-end being spectacular, and the hitting has been the problem scoring the fifth least runs in the MLB with 247.

You add all of these things together, and you get a very average baseball team. With the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox both ten games over .500, you have to wonder how much longer the Yankees can stay within striking distance? If they do happen to fall out of contention or even if they don’t, a decision will have to be made on All-Star closer, Aroldis Chapman.

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According to the New York Post, Jason Park, a scout for the Chicago Cubs, was in attendance for a Yankees-Tigers game last week in the Bronx. He was reportedly there checking out all three of the Yankees’ big time relievers: Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances.

The Cubs aren’t the only team to be interested in acquiring a reliever. The Washington Nationals’ top priority before the trade deadline is to acquire a dominant reliever according to Bill Ladson of This report came out before the one that just emerged per Jon Heyman: “Papelbon going to DL. Nats need closer even more now.” Good news for the Yankees–They have three of them. So if nothing else, there is already a market for Aroldis Chapman and it’s only mid-June. That begs the question of what should the New York Yankees do with the ‘Cuban Missile’?

Trade him: As previously noted, there is already interest for a reliever like Aroldis Chapman. The two teams interested have some pieces that the Yankees would certainly love to have. Before we get into what a return package for Chapman could look like, lets look at a similar trade in the past that could give us a ballpark estimate of what to expect in return.

Take the Craig Kimbrel trade this past winter for instance where the Boston Red Sox acquired the twenty-eight year old All-Star closer from the San Diego Padres. The prospects that went to San Diego were outfielder Manuel Margot, infielders Javier Guerra and Carlos Asuaje, and lefthanded pitcher Logan Allen. Margot immediately became the the Padres’ top prospect, ranked No. 25 on the overall Top 100. Guerra became their third best prospect, ranked No. 76 on the Top 100, and Allen and Asuaje became their 18 and 19 best prospects.

New York Yankees
New York Yankees /

New York Yankees

The caveat here is Craig Kimbrel’s contract situation. He is signed through 2017 with a club option in ’18. In other words, the Red Sox have control of him for the next three years. Chapman would be a rental piece for the buyer unless they choose to sign him to a long term deal which isn’t a crazy proposition considering he’s only twenty-eight years old. So, a return package for the Yankees may be a notch below the Craig Kimbrel deal but a slew of prospects and or major league ready players could be in order.

With the Nationals in dire need of a closer, the two teams could be perfect trade partners. Starting pitcher and short stop Lucas Giolito and Trea Turner may be in play with baseball america giving them the number 5 and 9 best prospect rating on their top 100 list. If a trade is to happen it will likely only be one of these names on the move, but the Nats’ have three other prospects ranked in the top 100 according to BA that the Yankees could look at.

The Chicago Cubs also present a few talented, young, major league ready players that could tickle the fancy of General Manager Brian Cashman. Joe Giglio of the NJ Advance Media Group believes that injured catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber might be out of the discussion, but infielder Javier Baez and third base prospect Jeimer Candelario could be in play.

Retain him: One thing that has never been a problem for the New York Yankees is money and if they feel like they can’t get a fair package in return for Chapman, then they should sign him to a long term deal. The one thing that can not happen if you’re Brian Cashman is to not trade him at the deadline and then let him walk during free agency. You need to either trade him or sign him long-term. It wouldn’t make much sense to keep Chapman on a losing team and then let him walk. Trade him if that looks like the case.

Signing Aroldis Chapman to a long term deal isn’t a bad idea. You have Miller locked up for another two years, Betances isn’t going anywhere with three more years of arbitration remaining, so you can have this three headed monster for the foreseeable future.

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Whatever the Yankees decide to do with Aroldis Chapman, they are going to have options and with the recent injury to Washington Nationals’ closer Jonathan Papelbon, they could find themselves in the drivers seat this July.