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Closer Aroldis Chapman calls report he will opt after this season 'completely false'

Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman, left, admires a

Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman, left, admires a photo taken by a young fan, center, after working out before a game between the Yankees and the Rays was postponed because of severe weather in the area on Wednesday. Photo Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

Yankees closer Aroldis Champan called a report that he would be exercising the opt-out clause in his contract with the Yankees at the end of the season “completely false” on Wednesday before the scheduled game between the Yankees and Tampa Bay was rained out.

Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million contract with the Yankees in 2017. The provisions of the deal would allow him to opt out and become a free agent following the 2019 season. He would have two season at a total of $30 million guaranteed left on the current deal.

Closer Craig Kimbrel recently signed with the Cubs for $43 million over three years, indicating there could be a favorable market for Chapman.

“I haven’t even spoken to my agent about it,” Chapman said through an interpreter. “Like I said before, we have a big task in front of us, which is to win the division and win the World Series. That’s the main focus for me right now. Contract stuff hasn’t even crossed my mind at all.”

Asked about whether his current situation with the Yankees was satisfying, Chapman said through an interpreter, “Of course I’m happy. I’m happy with the contract, I’m happy with the years that I’ve been here playing for the Yankees, this organization. I’m happy.”

Chapman was traded by the Reds to the Yankees in December 2015. When the Yankees’ 2016 season didn’t pan out, he was traded to the Cubs for Gleyber Torres and helped Chicago win a World Series. But Chapman returned to the Yankees when the deal expired at the end of the season and signed the current contract.

He and Torres do not speak much about that trade, but there was some communication going on while it was being negotiated.

“We had a common friend at the time on the team he was playing for, so we talked about it, saying there’s a chance this trade really does happen and you come to the Yankees and I go to the Cubs,” Chapman said. “I think that’s the only time we really talked about it.”

Chapman was named to the All-Star team for the sixth time this season and got the save in an American League win. He is 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA and has converted 25 of 29 save opportunities this season.

“God willing, I want to stay here for sure, right?” Chapman said. “But at the same time, from what I understand, after next year my contract changes a little bit and the Yankees have the ability to trade me. It’s one of those things that is kind of out of my control, but yeah, God willing, I’d want to finish it here.” 

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