The Yankees picked up Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman from the Reds, only giving up four of their lesser minor leaguers. There are several inherent problems with what looks on paper like a brilliant deal. One is Chapman himself. From the time Albertin Aroldis Chapman left Cuba, he had both a high-speed fastball 105 MPH and a heavy foot on his car’s gas pedal-up to 93 MPH. He has further trouble I’ll get to.
There are other internal issues not involving Chapman. The Yankees already have closer Andrew Miller. Two closers on the same team seems like good medicine but isn’t always. In late 1977 the Yankees signed Rich Gossage while they already had Sparky Lyle in the fold. Sparky was incensed by this move, as he wrote in his book “The Bronx Zoo.” Just this past season, the Washington Nationals, who had been prohibitive favorites to make the World Series in both 2014 and 2015 got closer Jonathan Papelbon in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. This left their closer Drew Storen stomping his feet in anger, and ultimately he punched a locker which ended his season. We can only hope Andrew Miller doesn’t channel his internal Sparky Lyle or Drew Storen.
The other side of the coin is, like the Mets’ Jenri Mejia who is already suspended for drug issues, Aroldis Chapman may be facing enforced inactivity. He could have already been traded to the Dodgers except a report came out about an alleged incident where he fired shots inside his garage and allegedly choked his girl friend. The Dodgers wanted none of that drama considering they already have Yasiel Puig making a fool of himself and one combustible talent is enough for any team. With George Steinbrenner 5 years in his grave, the Yankees took a risk George never would have in bringing Chapman to town before they knew if he would even be eligible to play on Opening Day.
Meantime, Oakland signed starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez. While he has a no-hitter on his record from 2013 and was an All-Star in 2014, shoulder surgery this past July lowered his price to 4.25 million for this season, a price even tight-fisted Oakland would pay. There has been speculation that a number of teams might take a flyer on Alvarez considering his low price but Oakland was the one to close the deal.
Correspondent John William Greenbaum provides today’s birthdays.