Fresh off of their second ALCS loss to the Houston Astros in three years, the New York Yankees will be faced with some tough decisions in the offseason. Key players like Dellin Betances are set to hit free agency, and there's still the question of how they plan to address their varied holes in the starting rotation.
But one decision that should be fairly easy to make is how they'll handle their closer, Aroldis Chapman. The flame-throwing lefty has an opt-out that he can exercise, and if he's demanding an extension, as reports suggest, then the Yankees are better off letting him walk.
It might be a tough pill to swallow in the short-term, but it would be for the best. His fastball velocity, the foundation of his dominance throughout his career, has been disappearing over the past few seasons. His average velocity has dropped every year since 2016, sliding from 101.1 mph in to 98 mph in 2019.
That's not a good sign, especially for a closer who will be playing in his age-32 season in 2020.
And there's still the fact that his current contract situation is less than ideal. He's already due a base salary of $15 million in each of the next two seasons, should he opt in. The Yankees would be foolish to push that needle any further.
All things considered, there's not much to justify having him on his current deal, let alone a new, longer one.
In today's game where relief aces are suddenly cropping up in droves, Chapman needs the Yankees a lot more than they need him. They'd be better off spending their money elsewhere, instead of further extending themselves for a closer who's becoming more slider-reliant by the day (which won't be a good thing forever).