Aroldis Chapman signed the richest reliever contract in MLB history Wednesday, inking a five-year, $86 million deal with the New York Yankees – the very team that traded him to the Chicago Cubs before the deadline last season.
The deal made sense for all parties involved.
“Obviously it’s a great deal for (Chapman), and the Yankees can obviously afford it,” WFAN Yankees insider Sweeny Murti said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “This is kind of what the Yankees were looking for. There was some division in the front office as to whether or not they should have traded him in July. The argument at the time was, ‘Listen, this is what we can get back for him’ – and it was a great haul – ‘and if we want him back, we can resign him.’ That’s exactly what they did.”
The Yankees traded Chapman to Chicago in July for Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford.
Chapman, 28, helped the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908, becoming the lone reliever that Joe Maddon trusted in any situation. Chapman went 2-0 with four saves and had 21 strikeouts in 15.2 innings for the Cubs in the postseason.
Can he go on a similar run with New York? Time will tell. Critics, though, will say that Chapman, who has 33+ saves in each of the last five seasons, won’t be an elite closer for the duration of his five-year deal with the Yankees.
“I think that’s the easy call to make and say that he can’t (do it),” Murti said. “That’s probably what the odds say, but I think when you go into contracts like this, you probably figure that you’re not going to get the full length of it, at least at that performance level. There is a three-year window here where he has a full no-trade and there’s an opt-put after three years, so if he’s really dealing after three years and shows no signs of slowing down, he might opt out and look for more. But that’s a little further down the road. I think right now you just look at it in the short term and say, ‘Is he going to be good for the next three years?’ I think that’s kind of what you hope he is, and you really just have to roll the dice when you talk about contracts of that length.”
The Yankees went 84-78 last season. They have made the playoffs just once in the last four years.