Chapman is expected to step back into the closer’s role, pushing fellow southpaw Zack Britton back into a setup role. Chapman has yet to pitch this season after testing positive for the coronavirus in mid-July. He was cleared to resume baseball activities back on July 31, though, and has since been working to build up to game readiness. His return should only deepen an already formidable late-inning relief corps; Britton has allowed just one run through 8 1/3 frames while racking up eight saves. And Chapman himself is fresh off a 2.21 ERA and 13.4 K/9 through 57 innings last season.
Fans can be forgiven if they’ve lost track of how many times the Yankees have designated Hale for assignment at this point. The 32-year-old righty continues to post sharp numbers for the Yanks — he allowed two runs in six innings this season — but has been designated for assignment an astonishing four times in the past three years in addition to being outrighted off the team’s 40-man roster in the 2018-19 offseason. Hale has signed five minor league contracts with the Yankees since 2018.
For all the times he’s been cast aside by the Yankees, Hale keeps coming back and keeps pitching well. In 54 1/3 frames wearing Yankee pinstripes, Hale owns a 2.98 ERA and 3.54 FIP with averages of 6.0 strikeouts, 1.8 walks and 0.7 home runs allowed per nine innings pitched. The righty generates grounders at an above-average rate and has proven plenty capable of pitching multi-inning stints, so another club in need of some length in the bullpen or depth in the rotation could conceivably take a look.
The Yankees will have a week to trade Hale, release him or attempt to pass him through outright waivers.