Aroldis Chapman and his triple-digit fastball are heading back to the Bronx, as the left-handed closer has agreed to a five-year, $86 million contract with the Yankees on Wednesday night, a source told MLB.com.
The agreement sets a Major League record for the largest contract ever handed to a relief pitcher. The Yankees have not officially announced the signing, as Chapman must still pass a physical to finalize the deal.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had repeatedly stated that one of his offseason priorities was to work out a deal with Chapman, who posted a 2.01 ERA with 20 saves for New York last season before helping the Cubs snap their 108-year World Series championship drought.
"The attraction of him is that we know he can pitch in New York and he doesn't have a Draft pick attached," Cashman said prior to the agreement. "So then it just comes down to money and term."
MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reports that Chapman's contract includes an opt-out clause after the 2019 season, a full no-trade clause for the first three years and a limited no-trade for the final two seasons. ESPN added that Chapman cannot be dealt to a California team.
Speaking often with Chapman's agent, Barry Praver, the Yanks believed that there was mutual interest to reach a deal with the game's hardest thrower, but they covered their bases by also tendering a contract offer to free-agent right-hander Kenley Jansen.
However, the Yankees were reluctant to sign Jansen because it would have meant surrendering the 16th pick in the 2017 Draft. Jansen had compensation attached since he turned down a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, while Chapman has none because he was dealt in midseason.
Traded by the Yanks to the Cubs on July 25 for a four-player package that included 19-year-old infielder Gleyber Torres, who was the MVP of the Arizona Fall League and is ranked as New York's No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, the 28-year-old Chapman appeared in 28 games for Chicago and had a 1.01 ERA with 16 saves.
Chapman appeared fatigued late this season due to a heavy workload, firing 15 2/3 postseason innings and appearing in five of the seven World Series games, but the Yankees do not believe there will be a carryover effect.
"He looked healthy," Cashman said. "I wouldn't be pursuing him if that was a concern."
From Cuba, Chapman began his career with the Reds, who traded him to New York following the 2015 season. He served a 30-game suspension for violation of Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy, making his '16 season debut on May 9.
The deal restores right-hander Dellin Betances to a setup role behind Chapman, who owns a 23-21 record, a 2.08 ERA and 182 saves in 383 Major League appearances. It crosses off another significant offseason objective for the Yanks, who finalized a one-year, $13 million deal with designated hitter Matt Holliday earlier on Wednesday.
In advance of the Winter Meetings, Cashman had outlined his goals as to find a proven veteran bat, bolster his bullpen and add to a thin starting rotation if possible. Two of those to-dos have now been addressed, with approximately four months still left to further shuffle the deck before Opening Day.