Aroldis Chapman reportedly turned down more money from a contender to sign with the Kansas City Royals.
According to reports, former Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman turned down a larger offer from the San Diego Padres to sign a one-year $3.75M deal with the Royals.
Per Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media, Chapman left money on the table by turning down the Padres, a team expected to contend for their division, the National League pennant, and possibly the World Series.
And why? Because he wants to close. Something you have to assume is a strong possibility in Kansas City, despite Scott Barlow and his 24 saves from last season residing at the back of the bullpen.
Can Chapman regain his form with the Royals?
Chapman, who will be 35 on Opening Day, is betting on himself to return to the form which made him one of the most feared closers over the past decade. The 13-year veteran, who has racked up 315 regular season saves with the Reds and Yankees, had a tumultuous 2022 season in New York.
The seven-time All-Star lost the closer role, missed time with Achilles tendinitis and the infamous tattoo-induced infection, and had his Yankees career end in chaos when he skipped a workout after not being guaranteed a spot on the postseason roster.
Evidently, Chapman still thinks he has what it takes to close in the majors, and the Royals seem willing to give him the chance to prove it.
How do the Royals benefit from taking a chance on Chapman?
The young Royals look to be on the right track toward success but aren’t in immediate danger of reaching the playoffs. This signing is just a gamble that Chapman can find his form, save some games, increase his value and give the team a trade chip to flip for more building blocks for the future.
In turning down more money and the opportunity to pitch for a contender out of the gate, you can argue that Chapman is more concerned about his stature and stats than experiencing team success again. But perhaps the veteran closer hopes that the Royals’ gamble pays off and he becomes a sought-after bullpen piece with the chance to close games in the postseason.
As with any gamble, there’s risk involved. And there’s a chance that Chapman ends up as an unreliable bullpen arm, stuck on a non-contender with no shot of postseason success.