With pitchers and catchers just under a week away from reporting, the Yankees seemed to be heading to arbitration with their newly-acquired closer. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Yankees have avoided arbitration with Aroldis Chapman, and are going to pay him $11.325 million. Both sides initially were pretty far apart as the lefty filed at $13.1 million, and the Yankees countered with a seemingly low offer of $9 million for arguably the league's best closer.
The agreed-upon amount is $275,000 above the midpoint of the two numbers but well below MLB Trade Rumors' $12.9 million projection.
Cashman confirms Yanks settle with Chapman on $11.325M for '16. "I’d always rather decide it mutually than have someone else decide for us."— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) February 12, 2016
This is Chapman's final year of arbitration eligibility; barring an unlikely suspension of over 45 days for his domestic violence case, Chapman will be a free agent at the end of the year. Chapman joins Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances at the back-end of the Yankees bullpen to form arguably the best trio of relievers in baseball. Chapman, once again had an excellent season in 2015, as he earned 33 saves in 36 opportunities. He pitched in 65 games to the tune of a 1.63 ERA and racking up 116 strikeouts, per Baseball-Reference.
Chapman was the last remaining arbitration-eligible player for the Yankees and an arbitration date was originally set for February 19th, a day after pitchers and catchers are set to report. Fortunately, since that's out of the way, both he and the team can just start to focus on baseball. It remains to be seen how long of a suspension Chapman might receive, but barring anything surprising, the Yankees won't be in this same situation with him next year.