NEW YORK — The Yankees have signed closer Aroldis Chapman to a 5-year, $86 million dollar contract — a huge risk in both dollar figure and length for a soon-to-be 29 year-old specialist who just pitches one inning in games in which the team is already winning, and that’s without considering Chapman’s off-the-field track record.
But Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said today that he is confident in Chapman’s character because the reliever promised him that his acts of domestic violence were done clean and without the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think I’ve made it clear in recent years that we have a very high threshold for player conduct on the New York Yankees,” Cashman said, alluding to former Yankee Alex Rodriguez’s PED history. “This is a top-notch organization and we expect our players to always do the right thing or at least do some right things on a sliding scale in relation to their production on the field. In Aroldis’ case, he is a very talented reliever and he has never tested positive for steroids. I think that shows that the emotion he displays on and off the field is 100-percent genuine and I respect that.”
Chapman holds the MLB record for the fastest pitch thrown in a game (105.1 mph) and the most gunshots fired by a player while in an argument with a girlfriend (8).
The pitcher said he appreciates the support of the Yankees and will do his best to make them not regret it.
“Five years is a long time and I’m undoubtedly going to do some horrible things before the contract is up,” he said. “But as long as I do the horrible things off the field only and strike guys out when I’m playing, I know they’ll have my back and that makes me feel good.” Chapman then fired off several celebratory gun shots through the ceiling of his living room.
Cashman made it clear that the Yankees do take Chapman’s past very seriously, however: “We’ve let him know that should he ever do any domestic violence while sporting facial hair, we would immediately suspend him.”