SPANISH HARLEM – Since Aroldis Chapman signed at around 12 AM last Thursday, I really wasn’t able to give my thoughts on the signing. But I’m glad I had a whole week to think about it because, as always, in New York you get mixed reviews. It’s the nature of the beast around these parts so I wasn’t surprised and of course, I wanted in.
Unless you’ve been in a cave you know that Aroldis Chapman became a Yankee again for a record 5 Yrs/85 Million. That blew away the new record for closers by 23 million, which was set only a week prior by Mark Melancon, who got 4 Yrs/62 million from the San Francisco Giants… Some were shocked that the Yankees, who seem to be in rebuilding mode, would shell out all that money for a team that didn’t figure to win a lot of games. Personally, I loved the signing – especially for a young team like the Yankees. Still feels weird saying the Yankees are a young team.
This youth movement is what makes Chapman essential to this club. There will be a lot of ups-and-downs, which can cause a team to lose confidence in a heartbeat. Skipper Joe Girardi will try to find ways to limit hard times and one way you can do that is by having a great bullpen. Let’s face it, the Bronx Bombers have only one pitcher that they can depend on, maybe two if you consider C.C. Sabathia dependable. You never know what you will get from Michael Pineda game to game, which is a bigger concern when you don’t know who your 4th or 5th starter will be. With that being said, every good outing you get from the back end of the rotation needs to be preserved.
Adding Chapman to a bullpen of Tyler Clippard and Delin Betances, will do wonders for a young team trying to contend for a playoff spot. The bullpen you will win games when the pitchers are sub-par. It will relieve some of the pressure on the pitchers that fill out their rotation and will prevent the Yankees from losing late-game leads that can suck the energy out a team. No fan likes to see their team lose the game in the 8th or 9th inning, so just imagine how that has to feel for the team that lost.
Another advantage of having Chapman is that you can use Betances in any way Girardi chooses. He could use Betances in a similar fashion to what Terry Francona did with Andrew Miller; using him when he thinks he will be the most valuable, or starting the 7th or 8th inning. Those are options that Girardi didn’t have before the signing of Chapman and prior years have shown that he has gotten the most out this team’s bullpen when given the opportunity.
My biggest reason… he is one of the top three closers in baseball: He affords you the safety net teams most want but don’t have. It’s the reason that relievers are so important in the modern game of baseball. The most recent playoffs have shown, you need a good bullpen to win. No longer can you depend on your pitcher to give 7 or 8 good innings, those are now reserved for the elite. Come to think of it, the trend is changing for all pitchers. Starters are throwing fewer pitches and less innings which puts a greater need for a good Closer and when you have the chance to get one of the best on your team, you do it and don’t look back.
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