As Aroldis Chapman continues to struggle, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi sounds like he is open to a closer by committee.
Per MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Girardi said prior to Saturday’s game against the Boston Red Sox he will use Chapman “at any point” during games and the team does “not necessarily” have a predetermined closer.
Chapman returned to the Yankees in the offseason, signing a five-year deal after the team dealt him to the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline in 2016.
The 29-year-old left-hander has struggled this season, missing one month earlier this season due to rotator cuff tendinitis. Chapman has the highest ERA (4.29), lowest strikeout rate (12.6 per nine innings) and highest hit rate (8.1 per nine innings) of his career.
Since the All-Star break, he has been particularly ineffective. He owns a 5.40 ERA with 12 hits allowed and 10 walks in 15 innings and has given up at least one earned run in each of his last four appearances.
The Yankees added quality depth to their bullpen at the trade deadline, acquiring David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. They also have Dellin Betances, Adam Warren and Chad Green available in the late innings to ease the pressure on Chapman.
New York is five games behind the Red Sox in the American League East and can’t afford to give up any more games if it wants to win the division to avoid playing in the one-game wild-card playoff.
By Adam Wells