NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Yankees have agreed to a 5-year, $86 million contract with closer Aroldis Chapman, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX.
Chapman, the top closer and one of the best players available on this year’s free-agent market, was said to be deciding between the Yankees and Marlins before deciding to sign back with New York. The lefty returns to the Yankees just five months after they traded him to the Cubs for four prospects before the non-waiver trade deadline.
Chapman’s deal sets a record for guaranteed money given to a relief pitcher, breaking the $62 million record set by Mark Melancon’s deal with the Giants two days ago. Chapman told ESPN earlier in the week that he was looking for a 6-year deal in the $100 million range, but ultimately settled for a 5-year pact that comes close to nine figures.
Chapman, 28, posted a 2.01 ERA while saving 20 games for the Yankees in 31 appearances for the team, playing an integral role in a three-headed bullpen monster alongside Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Miller, of course, was traded to the Indians shortly after the Chapman trade, leaving Betances as the setup man for Miller in the near future.
Chapman, a 4-time All-Star, owns a career 2.08 ERA in seven seasons with the Reds (2010-15), Yankees (2016) and Cubs (2016). He won a World Series championship with Chicago after being traded last season.
With Chapman off the board, the Dodgers and Marlins will likely compete to sign Jansen, who is expected to command a deal somewhere in between what Melancon and Chapman received. Other clubs looking for bullpen help can turn to free agents Greg Holland, Neftali Feliz and Brad Ziegler, or look to trade for a piece like David Robertson or Alex Colome.