Aroldis Chapman, the recently acquired New York Yankees closer, has officially been suspended 30 games by Major League Baseball for violating their domestic violence policy. The suspension of Chapman had been expected for months, but the number of games was the real uncertainty. The lack of certainty derives from the fact that this was the first time Commissioner Rob Manfred has handed out a suspension under the new policy.
Chapman issued a statement saying that he has accepted the suspension and will not appeal.
The Cincinnati Reds nearly traded Chapman earlier this offseason to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the deal fell apart when word came out that Chapman had been involved in an altercation with his girlfriend. The Yankees swooped in a few weeks later and landed Chapman, knowing he was facing a suspension, for a reasonable discount. The Yankees were able to keep all of their top prospects, sending Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo, Tony Renda, and Caleb Cotham to the Reds in return for Chapman.
Reagrdless of whether you agree with the severity of Chapman’s suspension, the Yankees’ gamble certainly appears to have paid off, as some were expecting Chapman to potentially be suspended for 50 or more games. The suspension essentially means Chapman will only miss the month of April and be available to pitch come early May. When he does eventually make his debut for the Yankees he will be joining Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller to form perhaps the scariest bullpen trio ever.
Chapman currently has five years and 34 days of service time, meaning he needs to spend 138 days on the 25-man roster (or disabled list) this season to reach the six full years required to become a free agent. This 30-game suspension will cost him 35 days, but with 183 days in the season, he will still get there and become a free agent at the end of the season. Knowing that a longer suspension would have jeopardized his free agency, it is reasonable to wonder whether a negotiated settlement is why Chapman has decided not to appeal.