Cubs Celebrate

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

45 Comments

Cubs 17, Cardinals 5: There’s a score that’ll lead to some deceptive stats for a little while. Team ERAs and averages and run differentials and things like that. Doesn’t make the Cubs good nor the Cardinals bad, but it creates temporary analytical chaos and that’s always a good thing. Anyway, 17 runs in support of Travis Wood is fun. Especially considering that Jeff Samardzija has gotten 15 runs of support over his eight starts. Junior Lake drove in six.

Tigers 4, Orioles 1: Benches cleared after Bud Norris plunked Torii Hunter following an Ian Kinsler home run. No punches or anything or really any shoving and stuff, but it does seem like Norris was throwing at Hunter out of frustration. Rick Porcello won his fifth start in a row and sixth game overall.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 5: Arizona carried a 5-4 lead from the sixth to the ninth but then Kevin Frandsen and Danny Espinosa each hit solo homers and that was that.

Mets 9, Yankees 7: The Mets continue to own the Yankees for some reason. This time after overcoming three-run deficits twice. Four Mets homers, some shaky Yankees relief, a successful bullpen debut for Jenrry Mejia and a gimpy Mark Teixeira — who couldn’t make it to second base on a ball to the wall and then turned into the first out of a game-ending double play — all factored in this one.

Dodgers 6, Marlins 5: Yasiel Puig hit his third homer in four days — this a three-run job — and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He has 26 career homers. This one was the 12th that came on the first pitch. I’m sure that means he’s doing something wrong and destructive to the team. Dan Haren allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings without walking anyone.

Blue Jays 7, Angels 3: Mark Buehrle wins his seventh of the season. He’s the first guy in the bigs to do that. Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie each hit homers. The Jays avoided a four-game sweep. In other news, weekend series that wrap around to Monday were invented by fifth columnists back in the 1940s in order to destabilize society and annoy game recappers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Giants 4, Braves 2: Tim Lincecum had his best start of the year, striking out 11. A lot of pitchers have had their best starts of the year facing the Braves lately. Tyler Colvin and Freddie Freeman each hit homers into McCovey Cove. It was the first time two homers hit the water in the same game since Barry Bonds did it twice himself on May 18, 2002.

Rangers 4, Astros 0: Colby Lewis tossed five and two-thirds shutout innings, striking out eight, and the pen finished the job. Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor hit homers. Odor’s first as a big leaguer.

Athletics 5, White Sox 4: Jesse Chavez went eight innings and the A’s won their fifth straight. A Jed Lowrie double, a Josh Reddick triple and a Josh Donaldson homer accounted for Oakland’s scoring.

Mariners 12, Rays 5: Felix Hernandez took a shutout into the seventh before giving up a three-run double, but he got staked to a 9-0 lead after three innings and notched his first win in a month anyway. Then he got ejected as he was barking at the umpire while leaving the game, which is probably the best time to get ejected if you have to do so.

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

chapman
Leave a comment

OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the excaption because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed,  I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.

Report: Yankees sign Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million deal

gettyimages-577291896
Getty Images
9 Comments

Update (12:02 AM EST): Rosenthal adds that Chapman’s contract includes an opt-out clause after three seasons, a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract, and a limited no-trade clause for the final two years.

*

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. Mark Melancon recently set the record for a contract earned by a reliever at $62 million over four years. Chapman blew that out of the water and many are surprised he didn’t fetch more.

Chapman, 28, began the 2016 season with the Yankees but he was traded to the Cubs near the end of July in exchange for four prospects. The Cubs, of course, would go on to win the World Series in large part due to Chapman. The lefty finished the regular season with a 1.55 ERA, 36 saves, and a 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings between the two teams.

Chapman was the best reliever on the free agent market and, because he was traded midseason, he didn’t have draft pick compensation attached to him.

The Yankees don’t seem to be deterred by Chapman’s domestic violence issue from last offseason, resulting in a 30-game suspension to begin the 2016 regular season.