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Yankees will regret Aroldis Chapman’s contract

The largest reliever contract in baseball history is one the New York Yankees will regret. It is too long, for too much money, for the wrong guy and, in the long run, a mistake.

In 2017 and 2018, it might work well enough, as the Yankees genuflect to the “Golden State Warriors of baseball” and pursue a wild card. But that comes at too much of a long-term cost.

Signing Chapman for five years and $86 million is an “all-in” move. The Yankees, however, are an in-between team.

He has already been suspended by baseball for violating the domestic violence agreement. He has had his driver’s license suspended for repeatedly refusing to obey the speed limit. And, although he is a big, strong guy, relievers constantly get hurt, and there is no reason to believe Chapman is immune.

Cashman wanted to keep the team’s first-round pick, which he did by inking Chapman and not Kenley Jansen, whom the Yankees never seemed to have serious interest in, despite talking the possibility up. Cashman reasoned that signing Chapman made the team stronger and cost his club only money.

When you look back at how Cashman traded for Chapman out of the discount bin, which ultimately led to the team’s picking up Chapman (save for his three months with the Cubs) and Gleyber Torres and reacquiring Adam Warren plus other prospects, it looks pretty shrewd — putting aside the ethical dilemma Chapman posed.
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The Yankees are trying to cut payroll to slide under or straddle just above the luxury tax bar in 2018. Chapman’s contract, we must presume, will still allow them to reach this goal. However, when you want to work within a budget, paying $17.2 million for closer will eventually harm you.

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