Injuries forced the Rangers to make some last-minute adjustments to their rotation and they decided to give Tanner Scheppers the Opening Day start despite the fact that he’d never started a big-league game before.
It went poorly, as have his other starts, and now Scheppers may not be long for the rotation. Manager Ron Washington declined to feed into that speculation, but Scheppers has a 9.82 ERA while allowing a league-high 20 runs in 18 innings, serving up four homers. Last season, as a full-time reliever, he had a 1.88 ERA in 77 innings and his average fastball was 2.5 miles per hour faster in the bullpen.
Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas guesses that the Rangers will give Scheppers one more start to prove himself, as which point replacing him with Double-A right-hander Nick Martinez could be an option. Left-hander Matt Harrison is also nearly ready to come off the disabled list. And then the question would become whether the brief stint in the rotation will have a lingering negative impact on Scheppers’ work as a reliever.
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.