NEW YORK -- Having put on the Yankees' pinstripes at a low point, Aroldis Chapman said that he was quickly made to feel comfortable in the organization, which is why it sat atop his list when the left-handed closer tested the waters of free agency this offseason.Chapman and the Yankees
NEW YORK -- Having put on the Yankees' pinstripes at a low point, Aroldis Chapman said that he was quickly made to feel comfortable in the organization, which is why it sat atop his list when the left-handed closer tested the waters of free agency this offseason.
Chapman and the Yankees finalized their five-year, $86 million agreement on Thursday, the largest deal ever issued to a reliever. Chapman recorded 20 saves and a 2.01 ERA in 31 appearances for New York, then he was traded in July and helped the Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years.
"I wanted to be a Yankee again," Chapman said through an interpreter during a Friday conference call. "As you all know, the reputation of the Yankees is a really good one. They have 27 championships and coming back, I wanted to do my best to bring another one to the city."
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Chapman said that he heavily factored in the positive experiences he had beginning in Spring Training, as he prepared to serve a 30-game suspension for violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy stemming from an Oct. 30, 2015, incident at his Florida home.
"I think the main thing was the way they welcomed me," Chapman said. "I was coming to this team with a problem and the way they treated me, the way they welcomed me, the way they helped me, starting from the manager, the staff, my teammates -- they made me feel at home. That kind of support is something that you need in a moment like that."
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Chapman did not make his season debut until May 9. He said that he is continuing to attend therapy sessions as a result of the suspension, and he plans to continue doing so until told otherwise.
"It has helped me to be a better person, and pushes me to be a better person every day," Chapman said. "Like I said before, nobody is perfect, we make mistakes, but the important thing is that we learn from them and we move forward."
The game's hardest thrower, Chapman fired the 30 fastest pitches tracked by Statcast™ in 2016, including a 105.1-mph fastball to J.J. Hardy on July 18 vs. Baltimore. With the Yankees faltering in July, Chapman was traded to the Cubs for right-hander Adam Warren, 2016 Arizona Fall League MVP and the Yankees' No. 2 prospect Gleyber Torres and outfielders Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford.
Chapman made 28 regular-season appearances with the Cubs, posting a 1.01 ERA, then he was summoned for 15 2/3 innings over 13 postseason games. While he revealed on Friday that he did not agree with how Cubs manager Joe Maddon used him, Chapman said that his job was to be ready for any situation.
"Overall, being in Chicago and winning a championship was very special," Chapman said. "Now, moving on with the Yankees should be great."
Chapman and his agent, Barry Praver, weighed a similar contract offer from the Marlins before agreeing with the Yankees last week. Chapman's new deal includes an opt-out after the 2019 season, a full no-trade clause for the first three years and a limited no-trade for the final two seasons, which he said were included on Praver's advice.
"The Marlins were close on signing me, but at the end, it was my wish to come back to the Yankees," Chapman said. "I also wanted to be part of a young team like the Yankees have now and not go to the Marlins because as you all know, from time to time they change their team a lot. I wanted to have a stable team of young players where I could feel at home."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.