Thursday, June 30, 2022

Aroldis Chapman is about to return. Hooray. (Should Yank fans be concerned?)

Quickie answer to the above question: 

No. We sit at least 7 games above every other team in Creation. As we enter the most sacred weekend of the year, let's embrace the joy of 1st place and devour bulk foodstuffs and stimulants, as America has learned us to do. Mr. Chapman will probably be okay, even if he's not the intimidating Babadook that he once embodied. So... go forth, Yank fans! Go forth and propagate! 

Got that? Okay. Yank fans just observed a thumbnail to the length and breath of MLB - from best (Houston) to worst (Oakland/future Las Vegas.) El Chapo's return may be bad news for Ryan Weber and/or Ron Marinaccio, one of whom will get an Uber to Scranton. We fans, on the other hand, should have no worries. NONE AT ALL!

But wait a minute... this is IT IS HIGH, and you didn't come here to be coddled with sativa-infused adult diapers. You came for the raw truth - for the regular depressing and distressing terrors. On that note, it's legit to wonder what bullpen role Chapman will fill, and how he might react to one that doesn't include banana bunches of saves.

Over his 13-year career, El Chapo currently has 315 saves, ranking 24th on the all-time leader board. In a normal season, he'd likely add 15 to 20 more, vaulting him past Rick Aguilera (318), Todd Jones (319), Jose Mesa (321), Huston Street (324), Roberto Hernandez (326), Fernando Rodney (327), Francisco Cordero (329) and John Wetteland (330.)

While these were excellent closers, none are or will ever be in the Hall of Fame. 

But Chapman would find himself in the company of Rollie Fingers (341 saves), whose enshrinement in Cooperstown is partially due to his iconic presence and world series performances. Chapman - a famously feared presence and savior of the 2016 Cubs - could arguably rate a bronze plaque, akin to Fingers.  

At age 34, in the final year of his Yankee contract, Chapman must know that the next four months will make or break his case for Cooperstown. Thus far in 2022, he's been difficult to watch - an ERA of 3.86 and only 9 saves in 17 appearances. He's blown some whoppers. When his command flees him, the guy is a ticking postal package on the doorstep of Clarence and Ginni: He can blow to smithereens any lead. 

Across the Yankiverse, there is no sight more terrifying than of Aroldis walking the leadoff batter, often in four pitches, with at least one ball still rising as it hits the backstop. He not only scares LH batters, he scares fans at home. The torrent of sweat droplets pouring off his brim, those bulging cow eyes, that look of complete, WTF desperate exasperation and exasperated desperation - these are images we've blissfully avoided with Clay Holmes as closer. (Wait, have any of you seen the stories about that record-setting giant python in Florida? Yikes. Now, that's a Chapman-level terror.) 

That said, even Holmes has shown recent signs of strain. (Only Mariano was indestructible, until age claimed him.) As early as tomorrow, El Chapo could return. Thus, the Yankees could face a closer "situation," that is, two pegs for one hole. This should be an abundance of happy nipples. In fact, it could be too much of a good thing.

My guess is that Holmes, at Boone's request, would go back to the set-up role. After all, Chapman is the Grand Old Vet, on Cooperstown's cusp, while Holmes has a meager 13 career saves, all this year. At age 29, Holmes will have next season and then some; he's not a free agent until 2025.) 

But will a relatively compromised Chapman accept an 8th inning role? Dunno. I don't recall the guy ever being involved in clubhouse friction. But when the clock counts down on a Grand Old Vet, you never know how they'll accept a lesser role. 

Unless Holmes fades, I'm not sure the Yankees want to return to the nightly Chapman jitters. But let us not worry about this now. There are bulk foodstuffs to be devoured. Go forth and propagate.


TheWinWarblist said...

It's going to be awful. We're going back to leads that aren't safe and blown saves.


ZacharyA said...

Aroldis Chapman, age 34, with declining velocity, declining command, and declining trustworthiness. On an expiring contract with a fanbase ready to be rid of him.

Mariano Rivera age 35-43
regular season
555.1 IP, 1.91 ERA, 0.913 WHIP, 89 BB/525 K, 316 SV
33.0 IP, 0.55 ERA

Yes, you read that right. Rivera had more saves after turning 35 than Aroldis Chapman has in his career so far.

Never forget the greatness of Mariano Rivera. We will never see anyone like him again.

BTR999 said...

Kindly excuse my lack of enthusiasm for his return

ranger_lp said...

Four more months of Rolaids...we need a countdown clock for this on the site...

Mildred Lopez said...

How I took Rivera for granted. Watched the 9th just to marvel at the beauty of his pitch command. Never a reason for butt clenching, the win was in the bag.

Rufus T. Firefly said...


Add in the fact that Mariano missed 50+ saves due to playing the outfield, breaking his string of 60+. Even more amazing.

And never got flustered. Unlike a certain fire hydrant we know.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Re Mariano:

a. I never could stand Joe Torre's reference to him as "Mo." For me, the only Mo was, and remains, John Dean's wife. This guy's name was Mariano.

b. Did you ever get to a game and watch M.R. warm up in the bullpen? This is the kind of thing not shown on the TeeVee. He did a heap of (weird) stretches before ever throwing a ball. Sometimes in the 8th inning, when it was clear his service were going to be needed. It looked REALLY strange. Worked, tho, didn't it?

c. M.R. had an incredible amount of faith (Christian) -- which allowed him to think, I believe, even during the game itself, that the outcome did not matter. I say this NOT as a believer....I am a devout atheist. Whatever my beliefs, Mariano's worked for him.

d. With all due respect to the statistics from Z.A., and they ARE important, the amazing part of what this guy did was: He did it all with ONE pitch. Varied speeds, varied locations. Again, a strange thing to think about. But it worked, didn't it?

e. Finally: He never was forced to pitch to Gary Sanchez. That's probably a net plus for M.R., and a negative (over recent times) for A.C., doncha think?

JM said...

Chapman has gone on the record, saying to reporters that Holmes has earned the role and "I'll do whatever I'm asked to help the team win" yadda yadda.

Of course, there's talking and then there's reality. So there's no way to know. But is Boone so much of an idiot that he would actually put Chapman back into the closer spot when Holmes is so obviously better at it?

Coin flip. Boone is an idiot, but we'll see how far up he is on the idiot scale. I'm afraid.

Carl J. Weitz said...

@ Mildred...except of course the 9th inning of game 7 of the 2001 World Series.
After the Yankees went ahead in the ninth and Mo came in, I was strutting around flapping my wings, did a jig and probably a couple of Johnny Walker Black-induced middle aged summersaults. After Mariano threw that sure double-play grounder into center field, a hit batsman and a Luis Gonzales 65 foot broken bat single just over Jeter's head in a matter of 5 minutes, I flew into a rage and smashed my phone against the wall into 100 pieces, turned off the lights and drank the rest of the scotch in the heavy darkness and depression while in my chair until I passed out. I will never forget that day until I die.

AboveAverage said...

At this point any intelligent manager..............would continue to go with Holmes as his closer and use Chapman in set-up situations, then move Chapman if possible by the deadline to someone else in need of a closer. I mean, you know. RIGHT?

DickAllen said...

And there, AA, is the rub: "...any intelligent manager..."

Any idea where we can get one?

DickAllen said...

Carl, I will never forgive Torre for bringing the infield in for Gonzalez's at-bat. That little tactic has the effect of raising a hitter's batting average 100 points and if (was it Soriano?) had been playing at a normal depth, it would have been game over. Bad Day at Black Rock. Still burns me up.

DickAllen said...

You're right Carl - it was over Jeter's head. I had to go back to youtube to see that replay.

Tim McCarver had just finished pointing out the danger of bringing the infield in with Mariano's habit of breaking bats, and lo and behold...

Had the infield been playing at normal depth, that little flair would have invoked the infield fly rule, there would have been two outs, and it would undoubtedly have gone to extras.

Doug K. said...

Holmes can't close every day and the Yankees have been in the lead in the 9th more often then not.Boone can use Chapman as a closer in the days where Holmes can't.

In certain games (depending on who else is available in the pen) Holmes would be better served getting the tough outs even if it's in the 8th.

Chapman would close those games as well.

Is it ideal? Kind of.

Chapman will be able to save the vast majority of the above.

Will he make it hard to watch? Oh yeah.
Is he an arsonist. Oh yeah.
Will I be happy when he's gone? You bet!

But it's not a bad situation. Holmes IS the closer.

AboveAverage said...

Hey Doug - Here's a thought.

AS WE ALL KNOW - Holmes also sweats considerably less than Hidrosis Chapman.

So perhaps Chappy can close the games we play out here in CA wearing a specially designed uniform made from super absorbent road grey chamois.

Sort of like a Yankees stillsuit from Dune.

Then his outlay of bodily moisture can be collected, filtered and reprocessed to help fight the drought out here.

Three or four save opportunity would result in thousands of teraliters.

So even if he blows the save (or chokes it up in the 8th), he can save still California!

13bit said...

In response to a hypothetical question on another post from Hoss, what would be the cruelest ending for us this year?

That would be to reach the Series and get shellacked by the Mets, to have the last flickering images on our virtual cathode ray screens to be Buck's face, dripping with champagne, while he shit talks us.

There might be worse outcomes - remember "the three outcomes?", but that's a bad one.

As of this year, we have no more trade chips, heretofore and forever-after to be known as "Yankee BitCoin©" and we'll have no future. Nobody can hit for shit on this team and the fourth horseman of the apocalypse is about to return. If High Lord Chapo resumes in his role as 9th inning man, then you'll know the gods have determined our fate.

DickAllen said...

I would rather have Buck shitting all over us than anything in Dodger Blue.

Doug K. said...


I like the still suit idea. I'm assuming the end result would be desalinated.


I would have to think that getting swept by the Astros or Boston in the first round would suck the worst. Losing the series mean we made the series. Having one of the great years of all time and then seeing it swept away like it didn't happen would be the most disappointing for me.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Actually, the game was already tied before the Gonzalez "hit." But yes, an incredible amount of bad karmic events had to happen for that inning to melt down the way it did.

Starting with the fact that there had been a rain storm during the game. Never would've happened if the Series had been played as scheduled. But...9/11.

That little storm moving in batted down what everyone on the field thought was Spencer's two-run homer—and left the field wet, so Mariano could not get a grip on that ball he threw wide.

Then...Brosius getting the sure out at third, but NOT throwing to first, which would have been a DP, and changed the whole course of the inning.

And, of course, Torre NOT putting in Mendoza, who had been lights out against the Snakes, to pitch the 8th, but going with his usual, two-inning save nonsense, with an exhausted Mariano. AND...Cooperstown Cashman, wearing out the whole pen that year by refusing to re-sign Jeff Nelson, who had an excellent season for Seattle...

HoraceClarke66 said...

That game has traumatized me ever since. Also, of course, Game 4 in Boston, 2004, when Joe, learning nothing, AGAIN insisted on getting too much out of a physically and emotionally exhausted Mariano. AND...refused to call a pitchout, when everybody in Fenway knew that Dave Roberts was going to steal.

Horrible betrayal...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Some weird and wonderful Mariano things:

—Yes, Joe FOB, his name was Mariano. AND, when the 1996 Yankees had him and Mariano Duncan on the same roster...they had the only two Marianos who ever played major-league ball.

—Mariano got his first and only major-league RBI...the same night he notched his 500th save. Nobody will ever hit that combo again. Nobody.

—Mariano was the very last player in the majors to ever wear "42," save as a tribute.

I also loved how, while he was extremely religious, he almost never flaunted his faith, or made it a cheap thing. He believed, and it helped him, but it was between him and God.

We will never see his like again.

Carl J. Weitz said...

@ Dick...yes, McCarver was prophetic that inning. And Jeter was hurt on the Mariano throw, not that he would have caught the single.

@ Horace...I really can't blame Torre for that 2 inning relief stint. Sure, Mendoza pitched great but MO was as close to a sure thing in baseball. So in a game 7 it made sense. Rivera did strike out the side in the 8th. In the 9th, only one ball wasn't hit softly. The single after the hit batsman. Can't remember who it was though. Everything else was dinks and dunks.

Alphonso said...

Here is my guess;

Boone will use Chapman in "safe situations" ( not save situations ) until he shows domination. If he succeeds ( in dominating) , he will be the closer again. Holmes will yield , as a good clubhouse guy.

If it ( by some miracle ) "works," the Yankees should be tougher to beat.

But the first "big blown save" will send the walls tumbling down.

There is something else to consider; The domino effect. what becomes of King and his confidence? Or that of Castro?

Not to mention; does the Maraschino cherry get sent to Scranton even though he has been impeccable?

Does Champion's return kill this team even if he pitches well?

13bit said...

Chapo is the sign of the ant-save.

He is the five-headed beast who sweats and hurls into the dirt.

His presence ensures that the rules of chaos and disintegration are upon us. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

Could you EVER EVER EVER trust him again? How do you think his teammates feel?

And yes, Holmes may be a clubhouse guy, but you can't discount the effect it'll have on him.

And Doug, regarding a first round sweep against us, point well taken. Not sure which would be worse, but I'll think on it.