Here’s the Phillies’ lineup for Game 6 of the NLCS against the Giants and left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Shane Victorino, CF
7. Raul Ibanez, LF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Roy Oswalt, P
The big change here is that Jimmy Rollins is back in the leadoff spot for the first time since Game 1 of the NLDS against the Reds. Rollins stole two bases in Thursday’s win in Game 5, so it looks like his hamstring is finally feeling close to 100 percent. Shane Victorino gets bumped down to sixth in the order.
Charlie Manuel also sticks with Raul Ibanez against the lefty Sanchez, despite using Ben Francisco against southpaw Madison Bumgarner in left field in Game 4. Ibanez had his first two hits of the series in Game 5 and is batting just .185 (5-for-27) during the postseason.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.