Yankees Join Elite Bullpen Ranks with Chapman Deal

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We've seen a shift of baseball thought in the past couple of years from dominant starting pitching to a dominant bullpen to finish out ball games.

The Kansas City Royals are baseball's shining example of the new train of thought as they finally broke through in 2015 and won a World Series after losing in seven games in 2014, and they've had all that success thanks to a dominant bullpen.

The Rangers started copying that line of thought last season when they retooled their bullpen at the trade deadline, even though that might've been a bit of an accident. No one saw Jake Diekman coming in and immediately becoming a shutdown lefty out of the pen. And even fewer people saw an 11th-hour deal for Sam Dyson with the Marlins bringing them a dominant set-up man who could very well be the team's closer in 2016.

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On Monday, another American League team took that step when the New York Yankees traded four prospects to the Cincinnati Reds for fireballer Aroldis Chapman, who is the hardest thrower in baseball history with fastballs that routinely hit triple-digits.

Chapman had a 1.63 ERA last season to go with 33 saves in 66 1/3 innings, in which he struck out 116 batters. It was his second-best season behind 2012 but went greatly unnoticed because the Reds were so bad. He has one year left off on his original deal before he'll become a free agent after the 2016 season, and you'd have to think if any team can afford to lock up the game's top closer, it'd be the Yankees.

Chapman joining forces with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller will give the Yankees one of the game's best bullpens, and if the recent theory stays true to form, they'll in turn have one of the league's best teams.

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