It gets late early out in the Bronx this season as the New York Yankees have assembled what is likely the greatest back of the bullpen to ever exist. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are three pitchers who could all be elite closers, but instead share the last three to five innings of a game in New York depending on the situation. Not only do the big three stand at a combined 19 and a half feet, but they also all throw in the high 90’s to low 100’s and have dominated major league baseball (except for David Ortiz).
The trio has combined to throw 34 innings (Chapman has thrown three since serving his suspension) and has struck out 63 batters, nearly combining for an 18.00 K/9 ratio while surrendering just six earned runs. So suffice it to say the Yankees have a lot of trade value in a league valuing closers more and more and in a market where next winter has very little to offer in the way of anything of value in free agency.
Chasen Shreve: Stay
Shreve is a lefty, which separates him from any reliever who isn’t in the back of the bullpen trio of Yankees’ relievers. He wouldn’t net a big return in the trade market and has done well most of the time in New York. Holding onto him is a no-brainer as he is eligible for arbitration until the end of the 2020 season.
Andrew Miller: Trade
If the Yankees are in contention, obviously this bullpen could be World Series caliber. We saw a Royals’ team with deficiencies in other areas mask a lot of concerns with a dominant bullpen and this Yankees’ bullpen is even better and deeper. That said, the Yankees may not be in contention and holding onto such a surplus would be silly when we saw what lesser relievers like Ken Giles and Craig Kimbrel netted this past winter.
With an even worse trade market the Yankees have two shots at trading Miller, at this deadline or in the winter since he is signed through 2018. Miller could net a blue chip prospect in return and another potential player who can join a core of the future and not provide eye popping numbers for an inning or two during the rebuild.
Dellin Betances: Stay
Betances is every bit as good as Miller and Chapman but unlike the other two, has never closed games for a full season. This brings up two important points. 1. Betances would net less on the trade market since he’s an untested closer and 2. Betances will stand to earn less in arbitration because he does not close games. Therefore, the 6’8″ righty is more valuable to New York than he would be in a trade and he’s also signed for the longest deal, ineligible for free agency until 2020.
Aroldis Chapman: Sign Long-term
There’s a few ways to go about Chapman’s situation. The Cuban lefty is off to a great start in New York and the Yankees would be wise to trade Miller for a blue chip return package so there is potential for a long-term relationship with Chapman. However, they can go about it the following ways:
- Hold onto Chapman through the year and try to work on a long-term deal with money coming off the books, hoping to get a discount since they brought him under their wing in the midst of a domestic violence investigation.
- Hold onto Chapman through the year, let him walk and collect an extra pick after making him a qualifying offer.
- Trade Chapman by the trade deadline if out of contention and collect a trade package that can net a few legitimate prospects.
- Trade Chapman by the trade deadline if out of contention and resign him in the offseason.
It’s important to note Chapman is only eligible for a qualifying offer from the Yankees so if they traded him by the deadline and tried resigning him in the winter they would not be sacrificing anything to do it except payroll space. The Yankees’ priority should be holding onto one of Miller and Chapman long-term and maximizing their trade value simultaneously if they are out of by the end of July.