Fall Of The Yankees: Chapman And Miller


They say one player can’t carry a team in baseball but what about two?

The New York Yankees traded away relief pitchers Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs and Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians just prior to the trading deadline in July. Both players have made a substantial impact on their new teams as they charge into their respective league championship series.

Chapman was dealt first. It made sense as he was to be a free agent by the end of the year. Between him, Miller and Dellin Betances there was an abundance of power arms in the pen. At that point of the season, the Yankees were teetering back and forth with the idea of should they be “buyers or sellers.’’ The sub .500 team just couldn’t get out of their own way and made the decision to move Chapman.

But shortly thereafter, Miller was gone as well. They successfully lopped off two heads of the three-headed monster, leaving Betances as the heir to Mariano Rivera’s throne.

Betances did step up in his role as a closer but the remainder of the bullpen was still less than mediocre.

The Yankees managed to turn the season around with a boost from the youth movement, led by rookie catcher, Gary Sanchez. Offensive production also came from middle infielders Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius. They led the team down the stretch, extending their postseason hopes into the last week of the season.

In hindsight, it’s easy to point what could have been. With the wins above replacement statistic or WAR, it can measure how many wins a player can add or subtract to a team based on their individual performance. In the case of Miller and Chapman, there are about three wins unaccounted for. And with that, it’s obvious that had the Yankees kept either player it probably would have carried them over the threshold and a wild card berth.

The Cubs and Indians have delighted their cities with some thrilling postseason games as they enter deeper into October. Both also have experienced a drought in terms of a World Series. Cleveland’s last title was won in 1948 and Chicago have the longest stretch in baseball, with their last championship in 1908.

There’s a real possibility that Yankee fans will see the two former teammates pitching in the fall classic, just not in the way they imagined.