It appears as though the curtain is starting to come down on the New York Yankees’ playoff chances for 2016. The team has dropped the first two games after the All-Star Break to the Boston Red Sox, one of the many clubs they are pursuing. Most people feel that if this losing continues, the team should begin to explore trade options for certain veterans. One of the names mentioned has been closer Aroldis Chapman. However, in reading Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal column from Friday, the opposite could happen. The possibility may exist that the Yankees actually sign Chapman to a contract extension.
Here is what Rosenthal wrote:
One possibility that the Yankees are considering if they stay competitive, according to major-league sources: Signing potential free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman to an extension.
The team has yet to initiate any such discussions, sources say, and retains the option of trading Chapman and then re-signing him in the offseason without losing a draft pick.
Notes he uses the term, “if they stay competitive”. Well, what if they do fall out of the playoff race completely? What if they extend Chapman and instead trade Dellin Betances and/or Andrew Miller? Think about it, of those three relievers, which is the one that is likeliest to bring back the smallest return? That would be Chapman, who will be a free agent after the season. Miller is club controlled for the next two seasons at a reasonable $9 million dollar per year while Betances will be just entering his first year of arbitration. Money will not be an issue in extending Chapman; the contracts of Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran will be coming off the books, a savings of roughly $35 million dollars. Re-signing Chapman will allow the club to continue to pursue what they have been doing for the last two seasons: rebuild while trying to stay competitive. If the Yanks trade Betances or Miller and extend Chapman, their bullpen will remain a strength for 2017 and their haul for the reliever dealt will most likely be a young player that is just about or already is Major League-ready.
As long as the Yanks continue their slide over the next couple of weeks, speculation will run rampant about what they will be looking to trade. Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious. The thought of signing Chapman to a new deal never crossed my mind until reading Rosenthal’s column. The thought seems a little crazy but if the Yankees are intent on contending in 2017, it actually makes sense.
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