Monday, May 9, 2016

What Aroldis Chapman's Return Means for New York


Tonight the New York Yankee stay home in the Bronx to play host to the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals but they also welcome one of their own to Yankee Stadium for the first time, Aroldis Chapman. We all know by now with the invention of wireless internet even under large rocks that Chapman had missed the first 30 games of the season after being suspended by the league after a domestic violence altercation this winter. Chapman has been staying sharp in extended spring training and has been throwing down at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa simply waiting on this day, his return, so what does it mean for the Yankees?

First and foremost it has been said since his acquisition that he would be the Yankees closer so that means Andrew Miller immediately becomes possibly the best set up man in the Major Leagues currently. That also means that New York can use Dellin Betances the way he was built and made to be used, for multiple innings at a time and as much as possible. With Chapman in the 9th and Miller in the 8th I can absolutely see Betances coming into a ball game for the 6th and 7th innings if he's well rested and if the Yankees have an off day the next day or something like that. Adding in a very useful Chasen Shreve and Johnny Barbato to the mix means that the Yankees mission for the deepest and best bullpen in the league is now complete.

Chapman will have hiccups, extended spring training is not major league competition, and we all need to understand that and be patient with that. The biggest issue I think Chapman brings along with him though will be the media attention and storm that will undoubtedly follow the team. The club is finally getting out of an early season funk and are finally starting to put some wins in the win column just in time for a potential distraction to come back to the club and the clubhouse. The Yankees, and specifically manager Joe Girardi, have traditionally done well reflecting the attention and keeping everything in the clubhouse and away from the media but you never truly know what you're going to get from a new guy like Chapman.

Obviously the way Chapman handled this spring training and has handled everything since the suspension I think he will be fine as far as the media goes. This is still a veteran team and the team is seemingly gelling right now so I don't think it will be an issue but I am still cautiously optimistic, it's in my nature. Chapman on the field is my bigger worry. He will be a little rusty and he may take a week or so worth of games before he is mid-season form, my question is can the Yankees afford a week of shaky outings at this point in the season or is every game getting closer and closer to a must win? I want to say the former but my gut tells me the latter. Stay tuned.

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