Aroldis Chapman is back in the big apple.
The 28-year-old Cuban left-hander has reportedly agreed to sign with the New York Yankees on a five-year, $86 million deal, the richest deal for a relief pitcher in MLB history.
“I love the organization, they welcomed me with open arms, and that’s why I decided to go back,” Chapman told ESPN’s Marly Rivera on Wednesday night after agreeing to the deal. “I was hoping I had a chance to go back, and it happened.
Chapman’s decision reportedly came down to the Yankees and the Miami Marlins. There’s a clause in Chapman’s contract that prevents New York from trading Chapman to a West Coast team for three years because he wants to stay on the East coast due to him residing in Miami:
“I just don’t want to go that far,” he said. “I did have the opportunity to stay here near my house [with the Miami Marlins], but no, I leaned more toward New York. I like the Bronx more.”
Last off-season, the Yankees made a controversial move by acquiring Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds amid a looming domestic violence suspension, but the Yankees were able to restore Chapman’s value that allowed them to trade him to the Chicago Cubs in July.
The Yankees received four prospects in return for Chapman, including most notably Gleyber Torres, who was named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League this fall.
“They are full of talented young players who want to prove themselves,” Chapman said of the Yankees, who finished 84-78 last season and missed the playoffs. “Last year, in a short time, they proved they can be a great team.”
Chapman will once again pair together with Dellin Betances to give the Yankees a dynamic 8th and 9th inning duo that will surely finish off it’s fair share of games in the Bronx.
Between New York and Chicago in 2016, Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 earned run average and 90 strikeout outs over 58 innings of work. He went 3-0 with a 2.01 earned run average and 20 saves with the Yankees.
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