It may seem quiet on the free agent market for Aroldis Chapman right now, but teams like the New York Yankees "remain focused" on signing him, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. If the Yankees happen to strikeout on Chapman, Kenley Jensen would be their next choice.
Chapman is reportedly looking for a six-year deal, but the Yankees are only willing to five-years in the $80 million range and would break the record contract for a relief pitcher recently set by Mark Melancon, who signed a four-year deal worth $62 million with the San Francisco Giants. The Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers remain active in the closer market, but they seem to like Jansen more than Chapman.
The World Series champion, Chicago Cubs, are also active for an elite closer, but it's likely they will trade for one like Wade Davis of the Kansas City Royals. The Nationals were also in the mix for a closer, but their top priority at the moment is trading for Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale.
The Yankees acquired Chapman last offseason from the Cincinnati Reds for prospects, but was suspended for 30 games after he violated the league's domestic violence abuse policy. When he returned, he made 31 appearances and stayed true to form, saving 20 games, posting a 2.01 ERA, and striking out 44 batters in 31 and 1/3 innings. Since he would become a free agent, general manager Brian Cashman traded him to the Cubs for prospects and would help them win their first World Series championship since 1908. Before being traded, Chapman expressed his interest in returning to the Yankees, and it's there at the moment, but it remains to be seen if he'll take five years instead of six.
Chapman has an advantage over Jensen in the market. He doesn't have a draft pick attached to him if the Yankees were to sign him and if the Yankees want to continue to rebuild a depleted farm system at one point, it makes sense to keep their focus on Chapman instead of going after Jensen and losing their 17th overall pick.
Jesus Rivera writes for Hardball Scoops