Aroldis Chapman’s New York tenure won’t begin as soon as he would prefer. Chapman, who was shipped from the Reds to the Yankees in December, has been suspended for the first 30 games of the 2016 season for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.
Chapman will not appeal the suspension, which will begin on Opening Day, and will lose more than $1.8 million of his $11.3 million annual salary. Even with losing 30 days of major league service, however, he will still reach six years of service time after the season and become eligible for free agency.
“I kept hearing it was going to be 30 to 40 games,” USA TODAY Sports Major League Baseball columnist Bob Nightengale said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I think if he had challenged this thing, it would have been 40 games – and with 40 games, if he would have been held to late-April, he might have missed out on free agency in a year. So I thought it was right. I thought it was powerful. Obviously there’s no charges, no arrests. But when you have a gun involved, that’s intimidation. So I thought it was a perfect penalty. I really did.”
Chapman’s suspension stems from an alleged incident involving his girlfriend in October. The 28-year-old Cuban flamethrower allegedly choked his 22-year-old girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, during an argument before firing eight shots from a handgun in his garage.
Chapman released a statement shortly after the suspension was announced, saying that he “did not in any way harm” his girlfriend.
“Well, you did – because you had a gun,” Nightengale said. “If anybody has a gun, you’re going to intimidate that that person. That’s harming right there. Without the gun, he probably would have had less than 10 days. But shooting in a garage, who knows what’s going to happen? That’s why it was such a stiff penalty.”
Since 2012 – Chapman’s first full year as a closer – he has 145 saves, the third-most in the majors. He has also thrown 1,609 pitches that clocked at 100+ miles per hour – more than 1,000 more than any other pitcher in the bigs.