Though it isn’t known exactly where the team stands, the New York Yankees remain focused on bringing back closer Aroldis Chapman, with ex-Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen their primary backup plan.
While Chapman is reportedly looking for a six-year deal, the Yankees won’t go that far; they are, however, prepared to give Chapman a deal in the range of five years and $80 million, which would break the record for relievers just set by Mark Melancon, who received a four-year, $62 million deal from the Giants.
The Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers remain involved in the closer market, though both teams appear to favor Jansen to Chapman. The Cubs could also be in the fold for either elite closer, though they’re less likely to land one of the two. The Nationals could also use a closer to replace the departed Melancon, whom they were interested in bringing back, though their primary focus right now remains starter Chris Sale.
Chapman made 31 appearances for the Yankees last season after being acquired via trade from the Cincinnati Reds last winter and then serving a 30-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic abuse policy. When he returned, he was his usual dominant self, saving 20 games for the Yankees while posting a 2.01 ERA and striking out 44 batters in 31.1 innings. He was ultimately dealt again at the trade deadline to the Chicago Cubs, whom he helped win a World Series title.
Chapman has a slight advantage in terms of value over Jansen, as the former does not have a draft pick hanging over him by virtue of the qualifying offer. Given Melancon’s deal, Chapman could conceivably break the $90 million mark; though he has not demanded a contract of $100 million-plus, such a deal may not be far off.