aroldis  cahpman

Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman throws a pitch during the ninth inning of the Cubs’ 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres in a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, in San Diego.

By Joe Giglio

From the moment the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, the door was kept open for a possible return this coming winter in free agency.

While Dellin Betances has been more than adequate in the closer role, the idea of reuniting Chapman and Betances in a dominant bullpen duo has to be at least an intriguing idea for the Yankees.

On Thursday, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball outlined the dollar range it would take to land the soon-to-be free agent when the market opens for business in November: More than $50 million over four years.

The reason? That figure still remains the biggest contract given out to a closer. According to Heyman, Chapman wants to beat it:

Especially now that Andrew Miller has been traded, Aroldis Chapman could be a candidate to return. Chapman is expected to seek to beat Jonathan Papelbon’s record $50-million, four-year contract for a closer.

Based on his ability, stuff, and performance both in 2016 (1.84 ERA) and since debuting in 2010 (2.13 ERA, 15.1 SO/9), Chapman is a good bet to be the closer that gets it.

Chapman, 28, has pitched to a 1.42 ERA since joining the Cubs.

When the Yankees take a look at the upcoming free-agent class (and the dearth of starting pitchers available), the idea of once again starting a season with a deep, dominant bullpen could make more sense than spending on mediocre starting pitching.

With Mark Teixeira’s contract set to come off the books, the Yankees currently only have $127.7 million on the books for 2017. As the team goes young, there will be ample room to spend—perhaps even on a record-setting deal for a relief pitcher.

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