Fresh off a deadline day trade to the Chicago Cubs and a World Series championship, it sounds like closer Aroldis Chapman is headed back to the Empire State.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the New York Yankees have signed the free-agent fireballer to a five-year, $86-million contract. That breaks the record for the most expensive contract ever given to a closer, which was actually set earlier this week with Mark Melancon’s four-year, $62 million deal with the Giants. Chapman is only the second closer in baseball history to get a five-year deal, after Toronto signed B.J. Ryan to a five-year deal in 2006.
BREAKING: Chapman to #Yankees, five years, $86M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2016
Chapman was originally traded to the Yankees in December 2015, and when avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $11.3 million contract with the Bronx Bombers. As the trade deadline approached, the Yankees appeared to be out of contention and they traded bullpen stars Chapman and Andrew Miller to contenders — the Cubs and Indians, respectively, who both made the World Series.
Now Chapman is back in the famous pinstripes with a deal that reportedly included a full no-trade clause for the first three years, a limited no-trade clause in the final two years, and an opt-out after the third year.
“Every player dreams of being a Yankee, and if they don’t it’s because they never got the chance,” Chapman told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. “I love the (Yankees) organization. They welcomed me with open arms and that’s why I decided to go back, I was hoping I had a chance to go back and it happened.”
Chapman was suspended for the first 30 games of the 2016 season after a domestic violence incident (no charges were filed). When he returned, he posted a 2.01 ERA and snagged 20 saves. He was even better with the Cubs, picking up 16 saves in 28 appearances, pitching a 1.01 ERA and a minuscule 0.82 WHIP. Plus an impressive post season where he helped the Chicago Cubs break their 108-year World Series championship drought.