On paper, the Yankees have the best bullpen in baseball after signing Adam Ottavino and bringing back Zach Britton. According to Fangraphs, the Yankees projected bullpen WAR is +6.1 which is the best by a mile.
The Yankees have cannons coming out of the pen with Chad Green and Dellin Betances going out there striking out everyone and there mothers. And that’s all fine and good but it doesn’t matter how great the setup men are if saves get blown in the 9th inning.
Let’s have a discussion about 31-year old Aroldis Chapman who loves nothing more than choking out his wife and injuring himself walking off the team bus. Thank you, karma.
Chapman was hurt a lot last season and blew a few saves but when the dust settled, he threw 51.1 innings with a 2.45 ERA and a 43.9% strikeout rate which was the third highest among pitchers who threw at least 50 innings behind only Josh Hader and Edwin Diaz.
But how long can this man continue to throw 100mph 4-5 times a week for half a year?
Chapman was sent ot the DL for about a month last season with tendinitis in his left knee. He came back and was fine or whatever but that knee is like a ticking time bomb. Everytime he throws 100 and lands on that leg, I think his knee is going to literally explode.
He also suffered from blisters and weird finger injuries which isn’t the biggest deal in the world but the point is, Chapman forever has little nagging injuries and those don’t go away as you get older. If anything, they occur more frequently.
I haven’t been shy about the fact that I do not like this man so I’m not necesarily hoping for him to have a long life of sustained health. Fuck that noise.
BUT, the New York Yankees just need ONE more All-Star season from Chapman because after this year, Chapman can opt out of his contract. If Chapman performs well then all signs point to him opting out so that he can trick a franchise into one more big deal before his knee evaporates.
Or maybe it doesn’t matter if he dominates this year or not. Perhaps Chapman is looking at how guys like Dallas Keuchel aren’t even signed yet and he’s afraid that he will never get another contract again so he opts-in.
Regardless, this monster bullpen is only as good as the closer at the end.
If Aroldis Chapman continues to be a beast, then the Yankees are going to walk into the World Series. If he gets hurt or finally falls off a cliff and starts throwing like 95-96mph, the Yankees are screwed and you’re going to hear me have a
Part of me is okay with either outcome.
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