The news: New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was suspended 30 games without pay by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for violating MLB's domestic violence policy. Chapman said he will not appeal the suspension.
The decision: Before making their trade for Chapman this winter, the Yankees tried to determine how long Chapman would be suspended. After conducting their own investigation, there were those in the organization who thought Chapman would receive 30 to 40 games -- putting the 30-game ban right in line with that belief. If Chapman had received 45 days or more, his eligibility for free agency would have been impacted.
It would not be surprising if Manfred used the possibility of issuing a longer suspension to convince Chapman to drop any thoughts of an appeal. If the suspension had negated his chance to become a free agent after the 2016 season, it seems likely Chapman would have gone ahead with his stated intention of appealing.
The impact: Chapman's suspension extends beyond sports and will likely make national news headlines. However, by avoiding the appeals process, the story loses some of its steam. It also keeps the Players Association from the uncomfortable position of having to publicly defend one of its members accused of domestic violence and poor judgment with a gun.
On the field, the Yankees have replacements for Chapman. The Yankees will open the season with Andrew Miller as the closer and Dellin Betances as the setup man. The duo were maybe the biggest reason the Yankees made the wild-card game last year, so they should be fine.
Mindset: Chapman is a gifted athlete. Fellow major leaguers speak almost in awe of him because of his 104 mph fastball. Still, this is a serious issue, one that is in the forefront of American culture, and especially sports. The spotlight on Chapman -- on and off the field -- just got more intense. He has had other incidents in the past -- mostly with speeding tickets -- but he is not in Cincinnati anymore, so he'll be subject to even more scrutiny.
What’s next: Chapman will be able to participate fully in spring training. He will be available to play his first regular-season game on May 9 against the Royals.