Aroldis Chapman "prefers" to remain with the Yankees, reports Jon Heyman. However, Heyman notes that if an extension can't be reached quickly, Chapman will opt out of the final two years of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent.
Chapman, 31, has $30 million remaining ($15 million in both 2020 and 2021) on the five-year, $86 million deal he signed with New York before the 2017 season.
If Chapman opts out, the Yanks will have the option of extending a qualifying offer to him.
The qualifying offer for the 2020 season is worth roughly $18 million, and the Yankees will be on the hook for that if they extend the offer and Chapman accepts. If the Yankees extend a qualifying offer and Chapman doesn't accept, the Yanks will receive a compensatory pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
Chapman pitched very well this past season, with a 2.21 ERA (2.28 FIP) and 1.11 WHIP with 85 strikeouts in 60 IP.
While Chapman was relatively dominant, his fastball velocity continued to dip and he adjusted by throwing his fastball less often than he ever has during his time with the Yankees. That reduced fastball usage meant a greater reliance for Chapman on his slider -- his only secondary pitch.
Over the last four seasons, Chapman's average fastball velocity has dipped from 100.4 mph to 100.1 mph to 98.9 mph to 98.4 mph. As his fastball velocity has gone down, Chapman's average slider velocity has dipped by roughly 1 mph per season -- potentially by design in order to keep the proper amount of separation between his fastball and slider.
If Chapman does opt out of his deal, he will arguably become the top reliever on the free agent market.
While Chapman should be able to top the two years and $30 million he has remaining on his deal if he opts out, Craig Kimbrel -- whose 2018 season was similar to Chapman's 2019 season -- was a free agent until this past June, when he agreed to a three-year deal with the Cubs worth $43 million.