Aroldis Chapman was a long shot to make the Yankees’ postseason roster regardless of whether he showed up for Friday’s mandatory workout at the Stadium.
The one-time closer made that proposition a no-shot by no-showing.
“He effectively took himself out of at least this round of consideration because, obviously, as a team, we have everybody who’s part of our network here working out starting Friday. And he made a decision not to show,” general manager Brian Cashman said late Sunday morning. “So I fined him for not being here at a mandatory workout . . . You’ve got to be all-in at this time of year. It’s disappointing.”
“It wasn’t an excused absence,” Cashman said multiple times, adding: “There’s no legitimate reason why he wasn’t here.”
Chapman’s agent, Scott Shapiro, declined to comment.
Chapman, a free agent after the season and highly unlikely to be re-signed by the Yankees after a disappointing 2022 in which he lost his closer’s job by May because of poor performance, returned to his Miami home after the Yankees concluded the regular season Wednesday against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.
Players, other than those rehabbing injuries, were encouraged to stay home Thursday to enjoy a full day off. Chapman was scheduled to throw a live batting-practice session Friday when the club resumed workouts.
“I just felt like him not being here was not OK,” said Aaron Boone, who spoke to Chapman on Friday by phone. “And I just felt like it was best for him to stay away for now.”
The Yankees, who will enter the postseason without a designated closer — Clay Holmes remains questionable for at least the first game of the series as he recovers from a right shoulder strain — began their ALDS roster configuration meetings in earnest Sunday. The players went through a workout at the Stadium in advance of Tuesday’s Game 1 against the Guardians.
Chapman had a 4.46 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP this season, both career worsts. He walked 28 in 36 1⁄3 innings and veered between dominating hitters and being unable to get the ball over the plate.
Chapman, whose 2022 included time on the injured list after he received a tattoo that became infected — which did not score him any points with the club hierarchy — for weeks has been under the impression that he would not be on the postseason roster. That, of course, is not a reason to skip a team-mandated workout.
“We’re going to have what we have here, [with] people competing and dying to be on this roster and fighting to be on this roster and want to be on this roster, even though those decisions haven’t been made yet,” Cashman said. “He chose to be absent.”
Cashman, perhaps referencing the tattoo fiasco, said he was surprised “at first” when Chapman did not show up but added that “when you add everything up, it’s not surprising.”
“There’s some questions about whether he’s been all in or not for a little while, and he’s maintained verbally that he’s in, but at times actions don’t match those words,” he said, declining to elaborate.
In his time with the Yankees, Chapman has been generally well-liked by his teammates, the pitching staff especially. Up until Friday, he was generally considered a player in good standing organizationally.
Said Cashman, “This game’s not easy, but you don’t need to make it harder by not showing up at a mandatory workout — for yourself as you compete for [a] postseason [roster spot] as well as for your teammates who are in there right now fighting to be ready when called upon and to try and put themselves in the best position so they can have success for us and for our city and for our fan base.
“That’s the job and he chose not to be a part of that as of Friday, for whatever reason.”