The New York Yankees are coming off game 1 of their ALDS matchup against the Cleveland Guardians and one familiar name was left off the roster prior to Tuesday’s primetime game. That’s firearm pitcher Aroldis Chapman.
Far from his prime years with the Cincinnati Reds, Chapman was left off New York’s ALDS roster due to missing a mandatory workout and instead going to his home in Miami, Fla. However, not only is Chapman’s Yankees career over, I’d argue that he may not have a spot on a Major League roster in the future.
First, we have to start with the obvious and that’s the reliever’s attitude. Yankees GM Brian Cashman stated that Chapman verbally stated that he was committed to this team, but actions speak louder than words. Chapman’s actions communicated that he wasn’t committed to his team and that’s why his career with New York is over.
However, I want to speak to this issue on a broader spectrum. What does that attitude mean to other teams that may want to sign him? What if a team like the New York Mets, who have plenty of expiring contracts this offseason in their bullpen, were to express interest in Chapman’s services? Could they count on him to be reliable for their team and showcase at least a shell of his former All-Star self?
That answer is incredibly hard to answer with these recent events, along with what he’s shown in the past. Chapman hasn’t listened to team professionals in preparing for games. He’s only decided to prepare his own way and while that may be good enough if he was pitching at an all-star level like he once was, he’s accumulated a poor 4.46 ERA in 2022. He’s gone to the IL due to an infection from a tattoo at a critical point where the Yankees looked for him to regain some of his old self before the postseason on a road trip against the Oakland Athletics.
Age is certainly not on the former all-star’s side either. He’s already 34 years old and doesn’t give much hope toward progression in the future. Due to his reluctance to work with team staff or put any type of effort into any type of progression as a pitcher, it hasn’t been great.
For Chapman, he’s shown a complete regression since 2020. From Chapman’s debut with New York in 2016 till the end of the 2019 season he had been very solid, even with his playoff hiccups. After the 2020 COVID-19 MLB season, where Chapman had a 0.86 WHIP and 3.09 ERA in a small sample size, everything began to fall apart. He had a 3.36 ERA, followed by his horrendous 2022 season. The troubles that Chapman faced throughout the 2022 season inevitably led to the loss of his closer role to Clay Holmes.
Even with Chapman’s horrendous play, he most likely still would have earned a spot had he done the bare minimum by going to his team’s mandatory workouts and putting on an average performance due to the injuries in the Yankees bullpen. Now, he’ll have to sit from his home in Miami while his team competes for a World Series ring.
He’ll also have to face teams knowing his public image has been tarnished due to the events of this season. Is it currently worth an MLB team paying Chapman, a pitcher who has demonstrated little control of his pitches and a knack for getting into drama? There are plenty of other options on the table for teams going into free agency that could be far more enticing. Whether that’s a proven name on the market or a player in the team’s farm system that has upside, both options may be better than the huge question mark in Chapman. Unless the former Yankees closer can show that he is truly focused on improving in the game of baseball, this may be Chapman’s last dance.