One of the premiere closers in the game has found a new home, and it’s one of his old homes. Aroldis Chapman has returned to the Yankees on a reported 5-year, $86 million contract, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports.
Chapman put up a 1.55 ERA in 59 appearances between the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs in 2016, saving 36 games while striking out 90 with just 18 walks in 58 innings.
Since becoming a closer in 2012, Chapman’s 181 saves rank second in baseball, trailing only Craig Kimbrel, now of the Red Sox. During that time, Chapman has averaged 109 strikeouts per season, fanning an astonishing 44.2 percent of his batters faced.
He turns 29 in February.
Chapman was ranked as the third-best free agent on the market by our Grant Brisbee.
The five-year contract shatters the MLB record for total value signed by a relief pitcher, set earlier this week by Mark Melancon’s $62 million, four-year contract with the Giants. Both outpaced the previous record, the four-year, $50 million pact between Jonathan Papelbon and the Philadelphia Phillies before the 2012 season.
There are a few other details of Chapman’s contract worth noting:
Details of Aroldis Chapman deal: no-trade for 3 years, and cannot be to a team located in California— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) December 8, 2016
Source: Chapman deal includes three-year opt-out, full no-trade for first three years, limited no-trade for final two.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 8, 2016
Chapman proved quite versatile in the postseason for Chicago, appearing in 13 of the Cubs’ 17 playoff games. He recorded at least four outs in five of his last six appearances, and finished 2-0 with four saves and a 3.45 ERA in the postseason, with 21 strikeouts and six walks.
Chapman also missed the first month of the season while serving a 30-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, stemming from an incident with his girlfriend on Halloween night in 2015.
Because he was traded midseason from the Yankees to the Cubs, Chapman was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer. As such, the Yankees do not have to forfeit a draft pick for his services.
In his seven-year career with the Cincinnati Reds, Yankees and Cubs, Chapman has 2.08 ERA in 383 games, with 182 saves, 636 strikeouts and 173 walks in 377 innings.