Who Gets Cut When Aroldis Chapman Returns?
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 18: Aroldis Chapman #54 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning in game five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
The New York Yankees have been full of players who have made the transition from the minors to the majors and back to the minors in a repetitive fashion several times before. Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, Clint Frazier and several others are just a few of the players that have been called up over the past few seasons due to injuries to many Yankees at the major league level.
Once the injured players can come back, there is always someone who has to be sent down or designated for assignment. Sometimes this decision is much harder to make if all the players are playing at a high standard. Aroldis Chapman’s return to the Yankees might be another tough decision Brian Cashman may have to make.
Chapman was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 11 and did not rejoin the Yankees until July 31. He will pitch in a simulated game tonight and is projected to join the major league roster sometime after that outing, barring any major problem. So who gets the ax when Chapman returns?
A first option could be Michael King, who has not had the season he was hoping to have. In 10.2 innings this season, King has a 7.59 ERA and allowed nine runs. He still has three options to the minors, and the Yankees may look to use one of these options to allow him to work on some mechanics in Scranton. With Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa being relievers that can eat innings, King finds himself in a tricky situation.
Another player that might find himself heading back to Scranton could be Ben Heller. Heller has only seen 1.2 innings of action in two games this season and allowed a single run. Given that Heller still has a couple of minor league options, Cashman may decide that this is the best move.
My prediction: I believe that Heller is going to be the odd man out when the time comes to make a roster change. Boone does not seem to go to him that often and has more trust in players like King, Cessa or Loaisiga. I also believe that the Yankees do not want to designate any player for assignment, like David Hale or Luis Avilan, given that both pitchers have done exceptionally well this season.