Aroldis Chapman and interested teams are expected to begin talking turkey after Thanksgiving about where the free-agent closer will sign.
The Yankees, Chapman’s former employer, are very interested in a reunion. And Chapman, in a report Tuesday, was quoted as saying: “I would love to be a Yankee again.”
Chapman’s comment was reported in a story on NYSportsDay.com. It was written by Ray Negron, who in addition to being a contributor to the site is a longtime Yankees consultant. Negron said he spoke to Chapman on the phone last weekend.
“The organization treated me first class,” Chapman was quoted as saying. “And the fans were like no other.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Newsday he was aware of Chapman’s fondness for the Bronx.
“I know he did express to me that he really enjoyed it here,” Cashman said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “Obviously, yeah, I think he’d love to come back here. You have to negotiate and find out what his market value is and then he’ll make a final decision. But yeah, I’ve been communicated with that he loves it here and would love to come back. But at the same time he’s going to do what’s best for his family, so we’re going to wait and see where the market goes.”
Chapman spent the first half of last season with the Yankees after coming over in a trade with Cincinnati. The Yankees dealt him to the eventual World Series champion Cubs as part of their July selloff.
Chapman could be looking for a deal in excess of $100 million, which would be by far the biggest ever for a reliever. The deep-pocketed Dodgers are among the teams reported to be interested in Chapman. The money probably will be a bigger factor than how much Chapman enjoyed playing for the Yankees, but it’s a nice start.
“I think if all things are equal, it helps,” Cashman said. “But again, the biggest thing typically 99 times out of 100 . . . is usually market value determines where players play.”
Cashman wouldn’t handicap how or when or for how many millions he expects the Chapman sweepstakes to end. But he made it clear the feelings between the player and team are mutual.
“I’ve been vocal already that I would like to have him back,” Cashman said.