The New York Yankees are "at least contemplating" designating left-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman for assignment, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees' decision boils down to whether or not they think Chapman's mechanical woes can be corrected over the next week -- and then if they'd be willing to carry him on their postseason roster.
Sherman also suggests that the Yankees have no plan to bring Chapman, an impending free agent, back for next season.
Chapman, 34 years old, used to be one of the top relievers in the majors. He's struggled this season, posting a 4.36 ERA (90 ERA+) and a 1.52 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the course of 33 innings pitched. He's seen his velocity drop more than a mile per hour this season compared to last, and he's required a pair of trips to the injured list. Chapman only returned to the active roster in mid-September after missing several weeks because of an infected wound from a recent tattoo he received.
While Chapman entered the season as the Yankees closer, he hasn't recorded a save since May 17. More recently, the Yankees have deployed him in low-leverage situations, with the Yankees opting instead to use Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loáisiga, Scott Effross, and Lou Trivino as their late-game relievers.
Indeed, Chapman's average leverage index -- a measure that attempts to gauge the "pressure" of any given situation -- is a career-worst 1.27. Or, put another way, he's on pace to make more appearances in low-leverage situations than in high-leverage situations for the first time in his career.
The Yankees entered Sunday with a 93-58 record on the regular season, giving them an 8 1/2-game lead in the American League East. Their magic number is down to three, suggesting they could wrap up the division crown early this week.