If the New York Yankees miss out on their top free agent target Aroldis Chapman, they have several fallback options they are considering.
Ever since the end of the regular season, Yankees fans have heard that it is a near-certainty that the best free agent pitcher on the market, closer Aroldis Chapman, would end up in pinstripes this winter.
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With Chapman’s recent comments that he will be seeking a six-year deal in the nine figures this winter, it makes sense for the club to at least check in on the various alternatives in case he prices himself out of the range in which they feel comfortable.
On Monday, general manager Brian Cashman explained the Yankees reasons for wanting to bring Chapman back to the Bronx, but also noted they were keeping their options open.
The attraction to him is that we know he can pitch in New York, and there is no draft pick attached. So it just comes down to money and terms. We will compete to a certain level and see if that is good enough. If not, that is why we are staying in contact with all others at the same time.
According to George King and Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Cashman has been in touch with the representatives for former Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland, who missed the 2016 season following TJ surgery, as well as two members of the 2016 Boston Red Sox bullpen, Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler.
None of that group comes with Chapman’s pedigree as one of the best relievers in the game, but they all have been successful in a late-inning role in the past and would come at a considerably lower price. All three of those guys could most likely be had on a one or two-year pact, which eliminates the considerable risk of giving a long-term deal to a reliever, even one as good as Chapman.
It is also worth remembering that New York also remains engaged with the other big name free agent closer still available in Kenley Jansen according to Jim Bowden of ESPN on Sunday. Former Yankee is no longer an option after signing with the San Francisco Giants on Monday.