With all this talk about “sellers” and “buyers” — some of which you might by chance have heard — what is the matter with thinking about renting? That is, allowing some other team to rent a certain pitcher for the rest of the season, then signing him again this winter.
The Yankees can give 105 reasons why that might be a good idea where Aroldis Chapman is concerned.
He hit 105 mph against J.J. Hardy in the ninth inning of a 2-1 win Monday night and had all of Yankee Stadium buzzing (and gasping, actually, one pitch later when Hardy hit a ball to deep left that was caught).
That was appropriate, because Chapman has created and will continue to create the greatest buzz heading into the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
The situation is a familiar one, but it is coming to a head quickly. Maybe not at 105 mph, but quickly nonetheless.
The Yankees have a magnificent asset in their three closers, who essentially close out the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. What an incredible late weapon to have in late October.
Too bad for the Yankees that the rest of the team just isn’t good enough to dream that deeply. They just don’t have enough everywhere else to ride a stellar bullpen into the World Series the way the Royals did it the previous two seasons.
The way the Yankees currently are constituted, the Dellin Betances-Andrew Miller-Chapman grouping is merely a three-tiered comet: a bright, hot spectacle that doesn’t come around often enough. Before the three of them came in to finish off the Orioles on Monday night, the Yankees had trailed after six innings 42 times (going 7-35) and led in that same situation 34 times (31-3).
So why not get what you can for Chapman (and that return could be considerable), then sign him in the offseason? It’s something to think about.
He gave everyone in the park something to remember Monday night. “I felt fine. I felt normal. Just a little more loose, I guess,” he said through an interpreter, adding that he recognized that he even outdid the 103 that brings “oohs.”
“I took a peek at the board and noticed 105,” he said, not knowing that the YES Network registered his final fastball at 105.1, the fastest pitch he ever has thrown. He shattered Ryan Flaherty’s bat with that one.
Those in the dugout were shaking their heads.
“Well, I duck down one step in the dugout when he’s pitching,’’ Joe Girardi said. “You get a little nervous over there. You watch him, his arm is so quick. I can’t really say I’ve ever seen an arm that quick. It’s pretty impressive. The reaction you hear is from the fans, so it kind of drowns out anything that goes on in our dugout.”
Even with the crowd noise, there is an unmistakable pop into the catcher’s mitt. The catcher sure can hear it, and feel it. “You just hope you catch it right,’’ Brian McCann said. “You catch it right, you’re fine. If you don’t, you’re in trouble.”
Ivan Nova, the starter whose win was preserved by the three relievers, said, “That’s the first time I’ve seen that in my life. I hear guys talking about 105, 103. I’ve seen a lot of 103 this year, but 105 was impressive.”
The trouble for the Yankees is that they don’t have enough hitting or consistent starting pitching to make the three-pronged relief comet more than a fancy luxury. Chapman in particular could make a difference in a pennant race or a World Series for someone else.
“That’s something I can’t control,” he said. “I just have to concentrate on my job, to help the team win games.”
He probably could help the team most by being rented by someone else — and then coming back.