Aroldis Chapman: “I Would Love to Be a Yankee Again”

In a recent interview, former Yankees closer and current free agent Aroldis Chapman said he would welcome a return to the organization this offseason.

While speaking recently with Ray Negron of NY Sports Day, elite free agent closer Aroldis Chapman was effusive with his praise of the New York Yankees, telling Negron, “The organization treated me first class and the fans were like no other.” He went on to call the 2016 “a fantasy” for him because “the Yankees have always been Cuba’s team.”

While Chapman did caution that “This is a business and the Yankees know that,” it is clear that he loved his time in pinstripes and would welcome a return. As he told Negron, “They took a chance on me and I will always be grateful.”

At the very least, this interview makes it clear that Chapman harbors no will towards New York for shipping him out of town at the trade deadline. The fact that they traded him to the eventual World Series champions certainly doesn’t hurt matters, I’m sure.

According to many reports, a reunion with Chapman is a top priority for the front office this winter. He was dominant during the first half of the season with New York, pitching to a 2.01 ERA in 31.1 IP while striking out an insane 37.7% of the batters he faced.

The team at MLB Trade Rumors expect Chapman to shatter Jonathan Papelbon’s record setting contract for a relief pitcher, projecting him to land something around five years and $90 million, but personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the first closer to land a nine-figure deal given how many clubs are desperate to solidify their pitching staffs this winter.

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Even at that price, I think the Yankees should absolutely be all over Chapman this winter. He’s still just 28 and is the best reliever alive. He’s a once-in-a-generation talent like Mariano Rivera who seems more likely than most to defy the odds and maintain his current performance well into his 30’s. Even when that 100-plus mph fastball begins to fade, he’s got that nasty slider to keep hitters honest.

George A. King of The New York Post reports that while there is mutual interest between the two sides, the Yankees have yet to make a formal offer to Chapman. He does confirm they have had multiple conversations with his agent Barry Praver.

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