Yankees lefty Aroldis Chapman will be left off the club’s ALDS roster after skipping a team workout on Friday. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters this morning, saying that the veteran lefty was scheduled to throw live batting practice on Friday but missed it with “not an acceptable excuse,” per Lindsey Adler and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.
General manager Brian Cashman also spoke with the media, with Bryan Hoch of MLB.com relaying about two minutes of video on Twitter. Cashman said that the official roster decisions have not been made yet but that Chapman has taken himself out of consideration, explaining that the southpaw flew to Miami for the club’s off-day between Wednesday’s regular season finale and a scheduled workout on Friday. However, he didn’t return for that workout and has now been fined by the team, in addition to being told not to return for the time being.
Chapman certainly wasn’t guaranteed a spot on the roster based on his performance this season and Cashman indeed said that an element of the workout was for the lefty to throw a live bullpen as part of competing for a spot. However, he’s now made it a moot point with his truancy. Since Chapman is an impending free agent, this news creates the possibility that Chapman has thrown his final pitch as a Yankee.
After pitching to a then-career-high 3.36 ERA in 55 1/3 innings in 2021, Chapman hoped to reestablish himself as a premier closer before entering free agency in his age-35 season. Instead, today’s debacle is the latest development in Chapman’s saga-filled 2022 season.
In the final year of a three-year, $48MM extension signed after the 2019 season, Chapman has begun to show his age. The long-time closer lost his role at the back of the bullpen to Clay Holmes after a month into the season, giving up six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in May before left Achillies tendinitis forced a trip to the 15-day IL for the entirety of June.
Upon his return in July, Chapman continued to underperform, allowing 10 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings before landing on the 15-day IL again, this time due to a leg infection stemming from a tattoo. Chapman returned in mid-September and showed signs of improving, giving up only 2 runs over his final 5 2/3 innings. Collectively, Chapman finished the 2022 regular season with a 4.46 ERA in 36 1/3 innings.
Whether or not Chapman returns to the club for a later postseason round, it’s fair to wonder how much interest he will have in free agency this winter. Though he was once one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the game, he’s coming off a poor season and has compounded those concerns with off-field problems. In addition to this year’s issues, Chapman was also given a 30-game suspension in 2016 for domestic violence.