The Yankees’ record-setting, five-year, $86 million deal with Aroldis Chapman might never hurt the Bombers financially, given their massive revenues, but it’s highly unlikely to work out for them on the field, given the unhappy track record of long-term contracts for relievers, and it’s a reprehensible signing, given what they know about Chapman’s character and actions.
I’ve identified 12 deals of four or more years given to relievers since 2000 but before this winter. In the past three weeks, teams have already handed out three more, to Chapman, Mark Melancon and Brett Cecil, with Kenley Jansen still unsigned. The track record of long-term deals for relievers is terrible, yet MLB teams are acting like a bunch of goldfish, so when some or all of these deals go south, please remind them that the little plastic castle was always there.
Chapman’s performance on the field might merit this salary, but not a contract of this length.