Aroldis Chapman
(Jim McIsaac)

Aroldis Chapman Promises to Silence Doubters

Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman has been on quite the run the past few weeks for the Yankees. After yet another blown save against the Mets, Chapman posted a lengthy caption on Instagram, vowing to make people ‘shut up.’

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ-KnTMDkM2/

Chapman has been struggling so much that manager Aaron Boone has even considered moving him around in the bullpen. In his last appearance against the Mets, Aroldis surrendered three runs without recording an out. He was promptly booed off the mound by the Yankee faithful.

Chapman’s Struggles

Sunday’s meltdown is a part of a series of meltdowns that have been occurring much more often as of late. Chapman was incredible for the first few months of the season, even posing the question of “Is this the best we’ve seen him?” Especially with the addition of his splitter.

Aroldis has completely challenged that notion and is imploding on the mound as of late. In his first 22 appearances, he had an earned run average of 0.41. In his last ten appearances, it’s 18.90. So, what happened? How does one go from one of the league’s most dominant relievers to that so quickly?

Can We Blame MLB’s Substance Ban?

As we all know, MLB recently banned all foreign substances for pitchers. This has created a lot of turmoil since the announcement. Many pitchers are already seeing heavy drops in their RPMs, leading us to believe a lot more pitchers used foreign substances than we anticipated.

Perhaps Aroldis Chapman had been using a foreign substance. It makes a lot of sense, as he was one of the wildest pitchers I and many others have watched over the past few years. Over the course of the last two seasons, Aroldis definitely looked like he had a little more control on his pitches, especially his fastball. Many pitches across the league relied on substances for grip, better movement, and increased velocity. Following the ban, the drop in all three for many pitchers is not surprising. Some have even considered sudden injuries resulting from not being able to use substances, such as Rays Tyler Glasnow.

Aroldis would not be the first Yankee to suddenly stink following the substance ban, as Gerrit Cole has had two of his worst starts in his career following the ban. That’s promising, right? He’s only a Yankee for seven more years after this year. It’ll be interesting to see how both he and Aroldis figure this out if they do.

Will Chapman Be Traded?

It’s impossible to tell whether the Yankees will be sellers or buyers at this year’s trade deadline. While they should sell, in my opinion, I would not be surprised if they attempt to do more of a re-tool rather than a re-build like in 2016, where they traded Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for then prospect Gleyber Torres. The difference now is I am not so sure a team really wants Aroldis Chapman that badly.

Aroldis’ contract is until 2023. He’s set to make nearly $15 million this year and $18 million next season. Unless the Yankees ate a significant amount of that, who would want to pay that much for a reliever? Nevertheless, a reliever who has not been good at all since the foreign substance crackdown?

Chapman has denied ever using foreign substances, but his recent slew of rough outings may indicate otherwise. For the Yankees, it may be too late to trade him at all. Perhaps he will figure it out down the road for the Yankees, who currently reside 10.5 games back of the American League East.

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