Prized free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman is already generating interest on the open market less than a week after helping lead the Chicago Cubs to a World Series title.

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Dodgers Linked to Chapman

Tuesday, Nov. 8

The Los Angeles Dodgers are “expected to make a dedicated pursuit” of Chapman, according to Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

Yankees Interested in Chapman

Tuesday, Nov. 8

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported Tuesday the New York Yankees, who traded Chapman to the Cubs in July, have quickly reached out to the reliever regarding a possible reunion.

Chapman Enters Free Agency as No. 1 Reliever on the Market

Relief pitching is one area of strength among an otherwise lackluster group of free agents. Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon join Chapman on the market, but Chapman has emerged as the top choice for the Yankees at this stage, according to Heyman.

The 28-year-old flamethrower has been a dominant force in the bullpen throughout his career. The Cuba native owns a 2.08 ERA and 0.99 WHIP across 383 career appearances while striking out an eye-popping 636 batters in 377 innings.

He came out of the pen 13 times for the Cubs during their playoff run. While he did start to wear down from all the work by late in the team’s World Series triumph over the Cleveland Indians, his presence was vital as the Cubs fought back from a 3-1 deficit to end their 108-year drought.

Now he’s set to cash in with a monster contract. Heyman projected it will “easily break” the previous record for a closer of $50 million, despite the star’s 30-game suspension for domestic violence to open the 2016 season.

In July, Chapman expressed interest in a possible return to New York in free agency before getting shipped to Chicago, per Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media.

“I feel very happy and comfortable here in the city,” Chapman said. “At the same time, this is a business and if I happened to be traded away, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be doing it for the good of the team. That being said, if the opportunity comes up where I can come back to the team, I would be more than happy.”

Chapman’s Cubs—and to an even greater extent, the Indians—showcased the value of being able to shorten games with a top-tier bullpen during the postseason. The Yankees started last season with Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, but the rest of the roster wasn’t strong enough.

Betances can close, if needed. But the interest in a free-agent closer suggests New York wants him to fill a role similar to what Miller did with Cleveland, coming in somewhere between the sixth and eighth innings when danger is lurking, with Chapman or another signing available to close it out.

It’s a smart plan on paper, but the question is whether the Yankees would be willing to make such a massive investment on Chapman. They figure to face plenty of competition for him in free agency given the high number of contending teams hoping to upgrade their bullpens this winter.


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