Closer Aroldis Chapman has agreed to a new deal with the Yankees, adding another year and $18 million to his existing contract, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Chapman could have opted out of his contract but the Yankees sweetened it in order to keep him around. He had two years and $30 million remaining.
Chapman, 31, is still a dominant closer, finishing this past season with 37 saves, a 2.21 ERA, and 85 strikeouts in 57 innings. The Yankees are losing Dellin Betances to free agency and could be without Tommy Kahnle following the 2020 season as well as Zach Britton if he opts out. Chapman’s return helps the Yankees maintain a dominant back of the bullpen in the near future.
There was some thought that the Yankees would be content to let Chapman opt out and use the freed-up payroll space to pursue one of the bigger free agents. With the flamethrowing lefty back in the bullpen, one wonders if the recently budget-conscious Yankees will still try to make a free agent splash.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.