Friday, December 9, 2016

My Thoughts on the Aroldis Chapman Signing

The New York Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year deal worth a whopping $86 million this offseason. What are my thoughts? Well I am certainly glad that you asked. Keep reading…

I am 100% excited and so ecstatic about it if I’m being honest. The New York Yankees needed a closer if they are going to compete in 2017, and that is no longer a question in my eyes as I see the Matt Holliday and Chapman signings as “win now” type signings without mortgaging the future, the team needed a closer and they got just that in Chapman. Chapman pitching in the 9th allows Dellin Betances to slip back to the 8th, and sometimes the 7th too, innings while Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard and the rest of the cast of characters handle the 6th and 7th innings for Joe Girardi. The bullpen may or may not be complete but if it is I have to say I’m quite happy with it.

The number of years I am not overly concerned with and the money never bothered me because this is a $3.4 billion company that needs to start acting like it. The Holliday signing and the Chapman signing are both smart for the “now” and for the future of the organization as neither deals will likely hamper the team for years to come, weren’t given as long term deals to players well outside their prime and weren’t astronomical in terms of dollars. I am quite happy with both signings to be fair.

The Yankees held onto their draft pick in the first round of the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft as well signing Chapman after the lefty was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after the Yankees traded him last winter which is also a huge plus for New York. The Chicago Cubs may have gotten a World Series out of it but the Yankees got Gleyber Torres for basically free, and I’m calling that a victory.

Great job Cash!

Ten Years of #1 Yankees Prospects

The New York Yankees have added to their farm system like no other team in the last calendar year and that has seemingly positioned the Yankees not only for the 2017 season but for beyond as well. In a word, the Yankees farm system is stacked. Let’s take a look at the last ten years of Yankees #1 prospects... you know… just because. Enjoy.

2017: Gleyber Torres

To be continued.

2016: Jorge Mateo… then Gleyber Torres… then Clint Frazier

The year of the prospect returned for the New York Yankees and it began with Jorge Mateo, who had a down season by all accounts, continued with Gleyber Torres who was acquired in the Aroldis Chapman deal and ended with Clint Frazier who the Yankees brought over in the Andrew Miller trade from the Cleveland Indians.

2015: Luis Severino

Great first season but took a huge step back in 2016.

2014: Gary Sanchez

Likely the team's back up catcher after having a strong 2015 season and an even stronger Arizona Fall League this season.

2013: Mason Williams

On the 40 man roster and made his Major League debut this season. Likely to miss out on the Major Leagues on Opening Day due to the roster crunch but will be one of the first to be called up if/when an outfield injury occurs.

2010 - 2012: Jesus Montero

Traded to the Seattle Mariners for Micahel Pineda and Vicente Campos. Benched, optioned to the minor leagues multiple times, came to camp overweight multiple times, attitude problems reported and apparently he takes offense to being offered a ice cream sandwich on a hot summer day. Brian Cashman win?

2009: Austin Jackson

Part of the trade that brought Curtis Granderson to the Bronx and sent the man they call A Jax to the Tigers. Jackson has since been sent to the Seattle Mariners before hitting free agency this offseason. Jackson is still one of the better defensive center fielders in the game although his bat never fully came around in the majors.

2008: Joba Chamberlain

From one of the best young set-up men in the game to midges to mediocre. Chamberlain has seen time with the Detroit Tigers, the Kansas City Royals and recently signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians. It was Cleveland where he was attacked by the midges. Can you say full circle?

2007: Phil Hughes

From hyped prospect to 18 game winner to gopher ball giveaway days at Yankee Stadium. Hughes had a roller coaster ride of a tenure in the Bronx before leaving for Minnesota via free agency. Hughes had a great first season in Minnesota before coming back down to Earth a bit in 2015. Hughes still has that rising fastball and some of the best command in the game. Hughes is an ace, he just wasn't an ace for the Yankees.

Meet a Prospect: Aroldis Chapman (Again)

For the second time in just about a calendar year the New York Yankees have acquired “The Cuban Missile” Aroldis Chapman to be their everyday closer in the Bronx. Woo hoo! The first time, for whatever reason, we did not officially introduce him to the Yankees faithful but this time I have a feeling he might be sticking around a little longer… so without further ado let’s meet Mr. Chapman again. This is Meet a Prospect: The Aroldis Chapman Edition.

Albertin Aroldis Chapman de la Cruz was born on February 28, 1988 in Holguin, Cuba. Chapman had a boxing trainer for a father and two sisters in his three-room house in Cuba (rooms, not bedrooms) and as a young child Chapman was taught to box, not play baseball. When Chapman finally did begin playing baseball it was as a first baseman, not as a pitcher. It was in 2003 when a coach noticed Chapman’s arm that he was converted to the pitching mound full time.

Chapman joined the Holguin Sabuesos of the Cuban National Series League in 2006 as a starting pitcher and was a part of the 2007 Pan American Games representing the Cuban national team as well as the 2009 MLB World Baseball Classic before defecting from Cuba in 2009. Chapman had tried to defect from Cuba in 2008, an act that kept him from participating in the Summer Olympics that year, but then President Raul Castro gave him a conditional reprieve.

Chapman was signed by the Cincinnati Reds after declaring his citizenship in Andora to a six-year deal worth $30.25 million with bonuses worth $16.25 million paid over the next 11 years. Chapman set many records for the fastest pitches thrown for the Reds while mowing down MLB ready hitters. Chapman worked as a starter for the Reds in 2010 and even made a playoff appearance for the team before switching full time to the relief role we know him in today before the 2011 season.

Chapman earned his first All-Star Game trip in 2012 as a closer for the Reds and followed that up for Cincinnati with a return trip in 2013 as well. Chapman and his blazing 100+ MPH fastballs were here to stay and nothing could stop them it seemed. Well maybe except for a line drive off the bat of Kansas City Royals star Salvador Perez. Perez hit Chapman with a line drive off the bat in a spring training game on March 19, 2014 causing a skull fracture above Chapman’s left eye and a metal plate to be inserted into his head to stabilize the fracture.

Chapman began the 2014 season on the disabled list due to the fracture in his skull and did not return to the baseball diamond until May 10th of that season. Chapman’s 2014 season and 2015 seasons went off without a hitch until the left-hander was almost traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the winter before the 2016 season. Apparently Chapman had a domestic violence case pending against him from earlier that winter which kept the Dodgers from acquiring him. The New York Yankees came in with a lesser package of prospects and acquired the left-hander giving up Rookie Davis, Tony Renda, Caleb Cotham and Eric Jagielo. Chapman missed the first 30 games of the season due to his domestic violence incident from the offseason and by July 25th he was no longer a Yankee.

The Yankees traded Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford with hopes that New York could rebuild their farm system while the Cubs could win a World Series. Success and success as the Yankees have one of, if not the, highest touted farm systems in all of Major League Baseball in 2017 due to this trade and trades like it while Aroldis Chapman helped lead the Cubs to their first World Series victory since the Curse of the Billy Goat was cast in 1908.

Chapman, World Series ring on his finger, hit free agency after the 2016 season ended and has now found a home back in the Bronx. For the next five seasons Aroldis Chapman will be closing games inside of Yankee Stadium and that makes me very, very happy. Welcome back Aroldis, the family missed you!

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/9: Andy Pettitte Returns, Again

On this day in 2015 the New York Yankees shipped left-handed relief pitcher Justin Wilson to the Detroit Tigers for a pair of starting pitching prospects, Luis Cessa and Chad Green.

Also on this day in 2009 Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte receives a one year deal worth $11.75 million to return for one more season. This is fresh off of winning all three clinching games in the playoffs including the World Series at age 37. Pettitte finished with a 4-0 record in five postseason starts against the Phillies, Twins, and Angels.

Also on this day in 2008 Tony Kubek would become the first person to ever receive the Ford C. Frick Award which honors broadcast members in the Hall of Fame. The former Yankee and Blue Jays broadcast personality has not watched a single game on television since he signed off in 1994.

Finally on this day in 1988 the New York Yankees signed a twelve year television deal with the Madison Square Garden television network. The Yankees would stay with the MSG network until 2002 when they would start their own network, the YES Network. This move is generally accredited with starting the trend of getting more games on regional sports networks.