For what it’s worth, the record for a reliever free agent contract was Jonathan Papelbon‘s four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies in 2011. I appreciate that we just came off of a playoff season when big time relievers made a big difference, but as Chapman’s and Andrew Miller‘s obvious exhaustion in Game 7 of the World Series showed, you can only ride a closer so hard. You’re never going to tick one back up to Goose Gossage-level relief ace usage. Certainly not one that throws 102 m.p.h. anyway. Chapman is elite, but quantity matters when it comes to giving money to free agents, not just quality.
It’s also worth noting that Chapman is not the only game in town. Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon are two other top-flight closers available as well. And that’s before you get to the fact that the Cubs’ front office has made comments suggesting that they may not be too hung up on bringing back Chapman anyway, taking one deep-pocketed bidder out of the mix.
It’s understandable that Chapman thinks highly enough of himself to be worthy of a paradigm-breaking contract. But $100 million certainly doesn’t seem realistic.