One of the most impactful trades of the 2016 MLB trade deadline involved the New York Yankees trading closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs. According to ESPN, the Yankees received an expensive package in return that included shortstop Gleyber Torres, pitcher Adam Warren, and minor-league outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.
.@AChapman_105‘s career-high pitch count over a 4-day span: 83.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) November 2, 2016
The Chapman trade was one of many that involved the Yankees this past season as general manager Brian Cashman sought to rebuild their barren minor-league system. Among the other players traded were Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova.
“This isn’t a white flag,” Cashman said. “It is a rearrangement.”
Despite the appearance from the outside, it turns out Cashman was right as the Yankees remained in the playoff race until late September despite playing with an influx of young players. New York finished with an 84-78 record, only five games out of the final Wild Card spot in the American League.
In the process, the Yankees seem to have found some stars for the future in catcher Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Aaron Judge. Sanchez hit 20 home runs in only 200 at-bats, which means he was on pace for 60 home runs if he would’ve played a full season. His emergence has put veteran catcher Brian McCann squarely on the trading block heading into the offseason.
Speaking of rumors heading into the offseason, the New York Yankees seem to have a strong interest in bringing back Aroldis Chapman, according to FanRag Sports‘ Jon Heyman. Chapman, who will turn 29-years-old in the offseason, told NJ Advance Media back in July that he would love to return to the Yankees if he ended up getting traded prior to the trade deadline.
“I feel very happy and comfortable here in the city,” Chapman said. “At the same time, this is a business and if I happened to be traded away, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be doing it for the good of the team.
Aroldis Chapman just threw a genuinely perfect pitch pic.twitter.com/3MOqjIXfMR
— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) October 31, 2016
“That being said, if the opportunity comes up where I can come back to the team, I would be more than happy.”
After spending the first six seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, Chapman said that he loved the massive fan base of the Yankees and the bright lights of New York.
“This is a great team to be a part of, I can tell you that,” Chapman said. “When you go on the road, you can see how many fans we have and that’s something really nice. That’s something that I would love to keep being part of. Hopefully everything works out.”
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) October 31, 2016
If a reunion can’t be worked out between Aroldis Chapman and the New York Yankees, then Heyman reports that the Yankees will turn their attention to Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. The 29-year-old Jansen converted 47-of-53 save opportunities in 2016 as he posted a minuscule 1.83 ERA and 0.67 WHIP.
As opposed to last season, when the Yankees opened up with a three-headed bullpen monster of Dellin Betances, Miller, and Chapman, Heyman reports that the current plan is to sign either Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen to close and then use Betances in a set-up role. New York still has Tyler Clippard, who could fill the seventh-inning role for the 2017 season.
The biggest thing to take away from Heyman’s report is that the New York Yankees don’t plan on doing a complete rebuild. With the team’s intention on signing Chapman or Jansen, it shows that Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner plan on the Yankees being playoff contenders as soon as next season.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]