Rob Manfred has finally made a decision and New York Yankees closer, Aroldis Chapman, will be suspended 30 games for his role in a domestic dispute over this past summer. The punishment is the first of multiple domestic dispute type cases Manfred will have to rule on and this first one seems to be setting a bench mark for harsh penalties, although this one is carefully harsh to a specific point.
With the suspension lasting 30 games, Chapman will be unlikely to appeal since it does not interfere with his free agency, The left-handed closer would have needed to miss 45 games to miss out on free agency next year. The suspension being as many as 30 games is about as harsh as Manfred could make it without raising suspicion as it pertains to the 45 game magic number, which is likely how he arrived at it with no precedence.
Chapman had no charges brought against him, was documented not to have harmed anyone physically and allegedly fired somewhere between one and eight shots of his firearm into the air in the presence of his girlfriend in a bout of anger. It warranted a suspension, but to make it 30 games will make Jose Reyes‘ case more interesting as that should be closer to 50 games with no free agency on the line and actual records of physical violence.
With the suspension, Chapman will essentially miss April and a little bit of early May, but is allowed to pitch through spring training. Essentially, it’s as if Chapman was injured for a month in his final relief appearance of the spring. For the Yankees, this is the price it pays by getting Chapman at a discount with the charges pending at the time of the trade and for Chapman, it’s a learning experience to better control his temper and decision making in the future.
The Yankees will likely start the year with Andrew Miller closing and may take an extra reliever with multiple off days in April. When May rolls around Chapman will make his debut and may end up fresher down the stretch with a month off to start the year. Chapman will not be paid during his suspension and since it is 30 games and not appearances, may end up missing out on about 10 or so appearances to start the year.