NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi had a game to manage on Sunday.Reports circulated on Saturday night, initially from FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, that the Yankees are nearing a deal to trade closer Aroldis Chapman in advance of the upcoming Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Girardi said Sunday morning that he has
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi had a game to manage on Sunday.
Reports circulated on Saturday night, initially from FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, that the Yankees are nearing a deal to trade closer Aroldis Chapman in advance of the upcoming Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Girardi said Sunday morning that he has heard the rumors, but it's his job to separate the rumors from the job at hand.
"What we've told players is, 'You've got to block the noise out,'" Girardi said before a 5-2 win over the Giants at Yankee Stadium. "There's going to be discussions throughout, there's going to be speculation throughout. That's part of my job is helping them block the noise out and focus on the game."
As much as that is Girardi's message to his players, it's also his message to himself. Girardi said his main focus for Sunday was, however obvious this may be, doing what it takes to both lead the Yankees to victory and position them to continue winning over the next week.
For Chapman, it was time for a day off. But that's not because Girardi wants to keep a potential trade chip healthy. Chapman threw 36 pitches on Saturday, had worked each of the last two days and pitched in five of the last nine games, making him off-limits out of the bullpen in the series finale.
• Yanks keeping Chapman informed
Not only was Chapman unavailable on Sunday, but so too were Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, the other two-thirds of the Yankees' core group of dominant bullpen arms. With his most valuable assets not to be used, Girardi was in a difficult position, with Sunday being as close to a must-win game as a late-July matchup can be, as a loss could've put the team even closer to selling Chapman or any number of his teammates.
After Saturday's loss, many Yankees players talked about how they want this team to be kept together, despite the trade speculation. Upon hearing these statements, Girardi glowed with pride.
"I'm glad that they think that," Girardi said. "We don't want to be broken up. We want a chance to fight and fight and fight. But we need to play better is the bottom line."
Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.