Giants closer Will Smith always was going to have no shortage of suitors headed into free agency this winter. That MLB-wide interest might even pick up now.
The New York Yankees reportedly agreed to a contract extension with closer Aroldis Chapman on Saturday night, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan. Chapman, who could have opted out of his contract Sunday, will remain with the Yankees through the end of 2022 and make $18 million that season after making $30 million over each of the next two seasons, according to Passan.
With Chapman remaining in pinstripes, that likely leaves Smith as the best reliever on the market.
Smith, 30, posted a career-high 34 saves in 65 1/3 innings of work in 2019. His 2.76 ERA was the second-lowest of his career, as was his 1.03 WHIP. Smith also was an All-Star for the first time in his career.
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NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic wrote last week that the Giants are considering issuing Smith a $17.8 million qualifying offer. That would take Smith just under Chapman's reported 2022 salary, but the reliever might prefer the security of a long-term contract rather than the one-year qualifying offer.
The Giants have until Monday to issue a qualifying offer to Smith. If they do, Chapman's reported extension will give Smith a lot more to think about.
A's closer Liam Hendriks is one of three finalists for the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award.
Hendriks is joined by Astros closer Roberto Osuna and Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. The NL finalists are Josh Hader, Will Smith, and Kirby Yates.
Hendriks, 30, enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, recording a 1.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. The right-hander notched 124 strikeouts in 85 innings, an A's franchise record for relievers, compared to just 21 walks.
Hendriks took over closing duties from Blake Treinen in the middle of the season and finished with 25 saves, along with eight holds. His 124 punchouts led AL relief pitchers and his 1.80 ERA ranked second among AL relievers with at least 40 innings.
Osuna posted a 2.63 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, with 73 strikeouts in 65 innings. Chapman finished with a 2.21 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, striking out 85 in 57 innings.
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The voting will be conducted by a panel of eight all-time great relief pitchers: Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, John Franco, and Billy Wagner. Both the AL and NL awards will be presented on October 26, before Game 4 of the World Series.
OXON HILL, Md. -- Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.
The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.
Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.
Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.
Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.
With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.
Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.
Fox Sports first reported the agreement.