Earlier in the MLB offseason, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi admitted he has concerns about the team's starting pitching rotation. The team avoided the high-priced contracts for players like David Price and Zack Greinke despite having Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka and Nathan Eovaldi all struggling with injuries while CC Sabathia spent a portion of the offseason in rehab. However, the trade to acquire Aroldis Chapman could end some of those concerns as the Yankees now have one of the best bullpens in baseball.
According to ESPN.com, the Yankees confirmed a deal with the Cincinnati Reds to acquire Chapman who is one of the better closers in baseball. Chapman's 1.63 ERA and 33 saves last season rank him as one of the best. The real x-factor is that Chapman will now pair with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances to close out games meaning the Yankees essentially shortened things to six innings for their starters. Is that the relief needed?
Trade rumors still swirl around Miller who has garnered some interest from other teams, but Yahoo Sports is reporting the Yankees are not planning on rushing to a deal. Right now, they like the idea of the three-headed monster closing rotation to take pressure of the starting pitching and Miller is critical to that effort. It is no secret that while the Yankees have one of the best bullpens now, their fate rests in the arms of the starters. Keeping Tanaka healthy while getting Nova and Sabathia back on track will not be an easy task as Girardi remains hopeful of things to come.
"I think there is concern because of health," Girardi said, via ESPN.com. "When you think about [Masahiro] Tanaka, coming off an injury, you think about [Nathan] Eovaldi coming off an injury, CC [Sabathia] with a knee he's had to deal with. Michael Pineda, that was the most innings he threw after substantial periods of time. So there is some concern. We had a lot of concern last year and the guys did OK for us. You go into spring training with five starters that are locked in as your 1-2-3-4-5, and you're still going to have concern. You better have depth."
The Yankees now have needed depth which means they could be done making trades for the time being. Cashman has confidence that the deal for Chapman will pay off in a big way. If the rest of the starting rotation can improve from last season, he could be right.