Phillies: Five free agents to reunite with Joe Girardi
One of the biggest fish who could be in the free agent pond this offseason is the electric closer Aroldis Chapman.
The Yankees closer could opt-out of the final two years of his contract worth $34.2 million as he approaches his 32nd birthday. The free agent market hasn’t been kind to pitchers over the age of 30, but Chapman hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.
Chapman burst onto the scene with the Reds sporting a triple-digit fastball that blew hitters and radar guns away. He quickly became not just one of the best closers in baseball, but one of the game’s brightest young stars.
Girardi and Chapman first crossed paths in 2016 when the Yankees traded four players to Cincinnati. Chapman only appeared in 31 games for the Yankees, saving 20 of them, before being dealt in a blockbuster with the Cubs that included Gleyber Torres.
Chapman would go onto to help the Cubs break their World Series curse and return to the Yankees as a free agent after the 2016 season, reuniting him with Girardi.
While the triple-digit fastball, 273 career saves, and career 2.23 ERA are extremely enticing, there is a major red flag with Chapman.
Chapman was suspended for 30 games after an alleged domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend during which he allegedly choked her and fired eight shots in his garage.
After Odubel Herrera’s domestic violence suspension this year, will the Phillies be warry of signing a player like Chapman? They rid the ballpark and most of the team store of Herrera’s likeness, but he’s still under contract through 2021 with more than $20 million guaranteed.
Philadelphia has been strong in their stance on domestic violence, and signing Chapman while moving on from Herrera would send the wrong message to players and the fans. Will the far superior talent of Chapman outweigh his checkered past?
If he opts out of his contract, it will be something discussed by a coaching staff that knows him well and Phillies majority owner John Middleton.