Will the New York Yankees Go After Aroldis Chapman?

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2009

MEXICO CITY - MARCH 10:  Aroldis Chapman #52 of Cuba pitches against Australia during the first inning of the game during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Pool B match on March 10, 2009 at the Estadio Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Lost in the shuffle of the Yankees tremendous offseason has been their relative inactivity on the Aroldis Chapman front. At the beginning of the offseason, the Yankees were heavily linked to the Cuban left hander because of their vast financial resources and experience signing international prospects.

But now that the Yankees have acquired Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez, and Nick Johnson already (and pushed their 2010 payroll to $204 million in the process!), do they have enough resources remaining to make a push for Chapman? Maybe not, if you believe Yankees GM Brian Cashman:

“I will continue to look at any remaining piece,” Cashman said during today’s conference call. “But it won’t be a big piece. Any speculation about some high-end player who has big ability and dollars attached on a large scale would be inappropriate.”

Now whether or not Chapman would be considered a "big piece" by Yankees brass is certainly up for debate, but that doesn't sound like a guy, who is too willing to commit $20-$30 million over five seasons to a relative unknown.

Then again, if the Yankees truly believe that Chapman has the makings of an ace in the majors, then I'm sure they could find room in their budget to sign him. Paying Chapman $5-$6 million dollars annually might be a lot for most teams, but for the Yankees, that's chump change as long as there is tremendous upside in the deal and the pitcher's name is not Kei Igawa.

Remember that the Yankees view Chapman as a piece in 2011 at the earliest, so if they do sign him, the implications of the contract would primarily be in the long term.

And finally, remember that the Yankees could jump right into the Chapman sweepstakes if they see the Red Sox make a strong push. Baseball's cold war knows no financial limits and if the Yankees can do anything to improve their club in the future while damaging the Red Sox in the process, then I'm sure that's a move Cashman would be eager to make.

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