While the Yankees are still pretending they are playoff contenders, the front office has at least started discussing deals from the perspective of a seller. As we approach the trading deadline, rumors and trade talk around this team and their assets are beginning to pick up.
We’ve already looked into which teams the Yankees could do business with last week, but it’s clear that anyone looking to buy will have some level of interest in Aroldis Chapman. He is easily their best trade chip.
Acquired in the offseason because a domestic violence investigation and subsequent suspension damaged his value, Chapman seemed like an easy low-risk/high-reward player. While he’s obviously been effective, he hasn’t exactly been his trademark self with a 13.67 K/9 being his worst rate since 2011. Thankfully though, a 2.39 ERA and 1.80 FIP with a a career-best 2.05 BB/9 will keep him in trade talks all summer.
In fact, not only should the Yankees being taking calls for Chapman right now, but they should also be actively trying to trade him. There are many teams who are better than the Yankees overall, but few have a better bullpen. Teams like the Rangers, Giants, Pirates, Cubs, Marlins, and Cardinals are all in the bottom 15 bullpens in baseball right now and several of them have already been looking for pitching help. Any of them would be greatly improved by Chapman.
The Yankees are reportedly looking to get a better return for him than they gave up, and in this market, where Drew Pomeranz cost the Red Sox Anderson Espinoza, New York should have no trouble doing better than Eric Jagielo and Rookie Davis. They need to simply consider this a lost year and try to get as much value back as possible.
There have been rumors circulating for weeks that, instead of trading Chapman, the Yankees are actually looking to extend him. This would honestly be a mistake. As cool as it is having him, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances at the backend of the bullpen, it hasn’t exactly been useful when the team can’t get the ball to them in the first place. The Yankees are clearly on a budget now and it would be a poor usage of the money coming off the books to lock up another reliever when they could use those dollars for something more useful.
It’s also worth mentioning that Miller, signed to a much cheaper deal than whatever Chapman will command, is a better pitcher. Chapman is all about velocity and as soon as that drops, his career could come crashing down. Miller might have more trade value, but I honestly believe keeping him over Chapman is in this team’s best interest if they still wish to compete in 2017.
The best thing the Yankees can do is trade Chapman while he is still good and get as much value as they can. This team hasn’t sold at the deadline in decades, but it’s time to stop pretending and start making smart baseball decisions.
The Chapman trade was a very bitter pill to swallow for a lot of Yankees fans for many different reasons, and moving him would be an easy way to gain back some good will with those that want the team to sell and those who were against acquiring him from the start.
Chapman hasn’t been a disaster, it hasn’t even been bad (most of the time), but he’s served his purpose and it’s time to move on. Let’s get something back that will make it all worthwhile in then end.