The Yankees have been actively exploring the free-agent market for bullpen reinforcements in recent weeks. A potential candidate for their needs could have been left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, if not for a falling out, making him a viable option for a cost-effective deal.
Chapman recently inked a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, valued at $10.5 million. His performance last season, divided between the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers, was commendable. With Kansas City, over 29.1 innings, he achieved a 2.45 ERA, and with Texas, a 3.72 ERA. His postseason prowess was notable as well, boasting a 2.25 ERA over eight innings, with an impressive 94.8% left-on-base rate and a 50% ground ball rate.
However, Chapman’s tenure with the Yankees two years ago was marred by controversy. He chose not to participate in the postseason due to struggles, culminating in a 4.46 ERA over 36.1 innings. His decision to abandon the team late in the year marked the end of his association with the franchise.
At 35, Chapman has an extensive postseason background, including 49.1 innings and a recent World Series victory with the Rangers. He continues to seek financial opportunities in the twilight of his career.
In an alternate scenario, Chapman would have been an ideal addition to the Yankees’ bullpen, especially at a $10.5 million price tag following a successful season. This could have been a straightforward decision for general manager Brian Cashman.
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Yankees Considering Other Bullpen Options
Currently, the Yankees are in talks with former Houston Astros pitcher Hector Neris and might also be interested in veteran David Robertson. According to Andy Martino of SNY, the team is contemplating extending an offer to Neris. However, Neris is seeking a contract worth at least $7 million annually for two years.
Neris recently declined a player option worth $8.5 million for the 2024 season, aiming for a longer-term guarantee. At 34, coming off his best season, he is seeking stability and financial security.
The Yankees’ quest for bullpen improvement continues. While the departure of Chapman has closed one avenue, the organization is actively considering other experienced pitchers like Neris and Robertson. These potential acquisitions would aim to strengthen the team’s pitching capabilities, aligning with their strategic goals for the upcoming season.