Both of the Yankees’ past two playoff eliminations have featured the same thing: a late, go-ahead homer allowed by Aroldis Chapman.
Despite that history, general manager Brian Cashman expressed faith in the Yankees’ closer — who pitched well in the wild-card series in Cleveland, but followed up the homer to Houston’s Jose Altuve in Game 6 of last year’s ALCS by allowing a home run to Tampa Bay’s Mike Brosseau in their Game 5 defeat in this year’s ALDS.
“I think [Chapman] is a really talented closer and exceptional at what he does,’’ Cashman said of Chapman, who also gave up a big home run to Cleveland’s Rajai Davis in the 2016 World Series while with the Cubs.
“Some end results, at least here and with the Cubs, you can point to,’’ Cashman said. “I know when given the opportunity with victory at hand, I feel extremely comfortable — and Aaron Boone does, as well — with [Chapman]. He’s typically converting those and I have full confidence in Aroldis Chapman. Certainly, I’m hopeful many times next October, if we’re fortunate to qualify [for the postseason] — we’re in the situation to hand him the ball.”
The Yankees made the biggest splash of the offseason a year ago when they signed Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million deal. There’s no target like that on the market this winter, but there are some options, like Trevor Bauer.
Cashman admitted Wednesday that rotation depth was an issue, especially in October — blaming some of it on injuries to Luis Severino and James Paxton, among others.
He wouldn’t rule out adding to the rotation this offseason but believes there is a “foundation” of talent, especially with the potential return of Severino by midseason from Tommy John surgery.
Another option could be Domingo German, who is off the MLB restricted list after serving his suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy last year.
Hal Steinbrenner said on “The Michael Kay Show” on Tuesday that he needs to speak with the right-hander “to absolutely feel comfortable that he deeply, deeply regrets and is sorry for what he did, and I absolutely have to be comfortable with the fact that he’s turned his life around.’’
Cashman noted that the Yankees haven’t seen German while he’s been suspended and called it an “evolving situation.”
The Yankees haven’t ruled out bringing back the 28-year-old, who was one of their most consistent pitchers in 2019, but there’s no guarantee they will.
“We look forward to re-engaging with Domingo German and seeing where he’s at from a personal and professional light,” the GM said.
Behind Cole, the Yankees right now only have Severino and Jordan Montgomery and inexperienced options like Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt and Mike King.