Yesterday, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted that, along with the Mets, the Yankees were out of the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes, with Olney citing a general front office concern as to whether or not Chapman was better suited to serve as a reliever or a starter (spending $20 million or more on an eventual bullpen cog seemed problematic).
The decision to bow out of the market for the prized Cuban southpaw made a certain degree of sense beyond role concerns, as well, as Chapman is far from a polished prospect. He needs to improve upon his overall command, which was fairly poor in Cuba, while bettering the quality of his breaking pitches. For these reasons, according to the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, the Yankees believe Chapman must begin his American career in the lower minor leagues, in Single-A ball, but he and his representation seem to disagree. Therefore, despite the talent inherent to his spidery left arm, the Yankees’ decision, while disappointing to some, was certainly understandable. Furthermore, last night, it appeared as though the Angels were nearing a deal for Chapman, so perhaps the hunt was over.
Today, however — there’s always a “however” — we hear from a report that conflicts with Olney’s, for it states that the Yankees could still be in on the Hendricks brothers’ sought after young client. According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, “[c]ontrary to reports that have pegged the Angels and Blue Jays as favorites to sign the 22-year old pitcher, the Red Sox remain very much in the picture, [with] one major league executive predicting that either the Sox or Yankees will sign him.” The executive added, “This one is for the big-money teams,” although I think it’s fair to call the Angels, who are in the top ten for team payroll, a “big-money team,” too. If Boston, a club which offered Chapman a $15 million contract a few weeks ago, prior to his representation switch, is still in the thick of it, I would think that the Yankees, so as to drive up the price for the Red Sox, would at least stay in the race on a superficial level.
So, could we see some sort of surprise Aroldis Chapman signing by the Yankees this week? I definitely wouldn’t count on it, as most recent reports seem to favor the Angels or the Blue Jays and Olney ruled the Bombers out yesterday (he’s generally believable). However, if Gedes’ executive is, indeed, accurate, for those in favor of adding Chapman — and I know there are a number of you — I guess you can view his latest report as a glimmer of hope.
Either way, he’s poised to sign soon, so the speculation will finally conclude.
Photo by the AP