The Yankees will go into Spring Training with Aroldis Chapman as their closer, manager Joe Girardi said on the YES Network on Monday night. New York acquired Chapman from the Reds last month in exchange for four prospects.
Chapman, a four-time All-Star, headlines a bullpen that features three players who have spent time as closer, though he has the most experience in the role by far. In six big league seasons, Chapman has saved 146 games and has a 2.17 career ERA.
The announcement means that Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, who combined to make up one of the Majors' most fearsome bullpen back-ends last season, will enter camp as setup men. Miller saved 36 games in 2015 in 38 opportunities and posted an ERA of 2.04. Betances, meanwhile, saved nine games and finished with an ERA of 1.50.
Betances (131 K's), Chapman (116) and Miller (100) finished first, second and third, respectively, in relief strikeouts last season. In Major League history, no team has ever had three relievers record 100 strikeouts.
Girardi did not indicate whether Betances and Miller would be assigned specific roles. If he makes decisions based on matchups, Betances, a righty, and Miller, a lefty, could form one of the more dominant late-relief platoons in recent memory.
Despite Girardi's proclamation, Chapman may not be available to open the season regardless of role, as it remains unclear whether he will be suspended for an alleged incident of domestic violence that took place in October. Major League Baseball's investigation, under the new domestic violence policy, is still not complete.
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.