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CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 27: Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on August 27, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Dodgers defeated the Reds 1-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Girardi: Yankees to enter spring with Chapman as closer

If you had any questions on who was closing for the Yankees in 2016, your answer might have come tonight in the YES Network Studios.

“We’ll go into Spring Training with Chapman as our closer.”


This does not come as a huge surprise as most people didn’t think Chapman would do anything else but shut the door for the Yankees.

The Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman on December 28, 2015 from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for four minor leaguers.  Chapman joined the already stellar backend of the bullpen in the Bronx with both Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances holding down the eighth and ninth innings in 2015.  Last year with the Reds, Chapman had 33 saves and a 1.63 ERA.  Andrew Miller had 26 saves and 2.04 ERA while Betances had 9 saves, and a 1.50 ERA filling in for Miller when he landed on the DL.

The backend of the bullpen was not a huge area of need for the 2016 Yankees, but they could not pass up a deal to bring in one of the top closers in the game currently.  Chapman has averaged 31 saves and a 2.07 ERA in his short six-year career.  Miller and Betances will assume the setup roles in 2016, unless Miller, who is reportedly being shopped, is traded.  This move comes a little less than two months after the rival Red Sox acquired Craig Kimbrel from the Padres.  The Yankees knew they needed to do something to match but instead they one-upped their long standing rivals.

Before the Yankees acquired Chapman, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a deal in place with Cincinnati to acquire Chapman but the deal fell through after news broke of a domestic violence incident between Chapman and his girlfriend.  The Yankees swooped in and received arguably baseball’s best relief pitcher for a reasonably low price, not giving up the untouchable list of Judge, Bird, Sanchez, Mateo and Severino.

The Bombers took a risk, not knowing what type of suspension if any Chapman will get from his involvement in the October domestic violence incident.  If Chapman misses more than 45 games, Chapman will lose his sixth year of major league service and will not become a free agent after the season.  MLB stated that they are nearing a decision for the domestic violence incident which could come before 3/1/2016.  When Chapman is in the lineup, the Yankees on paper could have the most dominant 1-2-3 punch to finish games in major league history.