TAMPA, Fla. -- Aroldis Chapman gets a 30-game suspension, the New York Yankees will have to do without their new closer for the first five weeks of the season and Major League Baseball has to deal with the black eye of having disciplined an alleged domestic abuser.
And somehow, everybody wins.
Everybody, that is, except for the woman who Chapman is alleged to have abused last Oct. 30.
For everyone else, the benefits are obvious.
Despite losing $1,856,557 in salary over the course of his suspension, Chapman will still bring home nearly $1.5 million more this season than he did last season -- for a month’s less work -- thanks to the $11.325 million deal awarded to him by an arbitrator in January.
More importantly, the relative brevity of the suspension ensures Chapman will have enough service time to qualify for free agency at the end of the 2016 season.
Not to be forgotten is that Chapman gets to play that season for the Yankees, who have a shot at a postseason check, rather than for the hopeless Cincinnati Reds.
All that adds up to a win, even with the PR hit Chapman’s image has taken.
As for the Yankees, their bullpen was the strongest unit on the team last year, even before they traded for Chapman. With the back-end tandem of Dellin Betances setting up and Andrew Miller closing, the 2015 Yankees were 66-3 in games they led after six innings, 73-2 in games they led after seven and 81-0 in games they led after eight.
With the exception of possibly lightening some of the workload for Betances and Miller, it’s always been somewhat questionable how much Chapman could help them improve on that record, anyway. But now, he becomes a formidable addition to their staff five weeks into the season. It will be like making a blockbuster trade two months in advance of the deadline.
And let’s not forget who the Yankees gave up to get Chapman, who was only the most fearsome reliever in baseball last season: Three minor-leaguers who have never played above Double-A and Caleb Cotham, who had a 6.52 ERA in 12 relief appearances for the Yankees last season.
Talk about buying low. Despite their own PR hit, the only way this could have been a bigger win for the Yankees is if commissioner Rob Manfred had tacked on 16 more games to Chapman’s suspension, which would have given them control over the fire-balling lefty for 2017, too.
Which brings us to the commish himself, who set a precedent by suspending a player against whom no criminal charges were brought, and who instinctively must have sensed that the MLBPA would convince Chapman not to appeal, since no one comes out looking good by trying to defend an alleged woman-beater.
The 30-game ban amounts to about 19 percent of the 162-game major league season, the equivalent of about three games out of a 16-game NFL season.
Which means that with one ruling, Manfred establishes himself as much tougher on domestic violence than his NFL counterpart, Roger Goodell, who originally gave Ray Rice a two-game suspension despite compelling evidence that the Ravens running back had cold-cocked his fiancée in an Atlantic City elevator. All Manfred had was a he said/she said case, no physical evidence of injury, a police report that acknowledged contradictory testimony from witnesses and an alleged victim who later recanted.
Still, rather than weaseling out, Manfred played it tough, sending a warning shot over the bow at future abusers, and he should be commended for it.
Win, win, win.
But what of the alleged victim?
Despite dropping his appeal and delivering a halfhearted apology, Chapman continues to insist that he “never hurt" his girlfriend, conveniently ignoring the fact that there are many forms of domestic abuse, one of which is intimidation.
What else was Chapman trying to accomplish by firing his gun eight times in the garage?
One of the most disheartening aspects of domestic violence is that the victims are often too frightened to do anything about it.
One can only hope that Chapman has indeed learned his lesson from this incident and that things are peaceful once again in his home.
Because if not, there was only one loser in this case, and instead of rooting for Chapman to lead the Yankees to another World Series, we should all be rooting for her not to lose again.