Monday, July 15, 2019


Now we can all start getting anxious and excited about the trade deadline. The Yankees have sixteen days left to make some moves for the remainder of the season. We all know Brian Cashman wants another starting pitcher, but what about another closer?

Another good starting pitcher would put the Yankees in a much better position for a postseason run. But adding another closer could set the Yankees up beyond 2019, especially if the Yankees are worried about keeping Aroldis Chapman long-term.

In case you missed it, Ken Davidoff had an interesting piece this weekend about Chapman. He has an opt-out option coming at the end of the season. Question is....what are the odds that he takes it? If he does, is it bad news for the Yankees?

At this point I think the odds of Chapman opting out are 60/40 that he does. Even with the last two off seasons being incredibly slow, it's possible. Who isn't motivated by the idea of more money? A lot of players (not all) are looking for the most money at the end of the contract. Sure shorter term deals with more money per year are nice but the grand total can be more enticing especially for guys that are older.

The real question is does Chapman want to test free agency after watching the last two off seasons move so slowly? Some say he may never get the type of contract that the Yankees initially gave him. It could be another Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel saga from this past winter. You also have to
consider that Chapman would be one of the most attractive arms available. Right now he has 2 years and $34 million to last until he is 34. He could keep that or opt out and try to get a three year deal for more money at age 31. Considering he is still coming off of a very good season, it's possible he gets it if he doesn't collapse down the stretch or suffer an injury. It's hard to say he wouldn't opt out in this scenario. A big second half for Chapman could make the opt-out possibility more likely. If Kimbrel got 3 years for $43 million after missing 1/3 of the season there's a good chance that Chapman could beat that offer on the open market.

It's also possible that the Yankees don't wait for him to have a chance to opt-out. I could see Chapman's situation being something similar to CC Sabathia. CC had an option to opt out years ago but the Yankees gave him an extension to his existing contract to convince him to stay. Granted, CC has a tenure with the Yankees and unmatched leadership that the Yankees have loved and respected throughout the years but, a good closer also cannot be overlooked or easily dismissed.

Chapman said he hasn't thought about his opt-out option. No surprise there, all players say that. Maybe he stays after all. We all thought Masahiro Tanaka was going to opt-out of his contract back in the 2017 off season and that didn't happen either. So who knows what will happen, but no matter what happens I am sure the Yankees will be prepared for any scenario.

--Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj

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