Eight days from now, the New York Yankees' trade leverage with relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman will decline dramatically, because one second past 4 p.m. ET on Aug. 1, Chapman can be traded only after passing through waivers -- and presumably, he would be claimed by all contenders -- leaving New York to deal with one team.
There are no pressing calendar restrictions for Andrew Miller, however, because he is under contract through 2018, so as reported last week, the Yankees have been pressing to finish a Chapman deal with the Nationals, Cubs, Indians, Giants or a handful of other teams. As teams have asked about Miller, the Yankees have talked about how they're focused on Chapman.
That doesn't mean they won't trade Miller eventually -- perhaps even before Aug. 1. But right now, it's all about Chapman, about treating him as a special and distinct opportunity for interested teams.
Agent Scott Boras has often handled his clients the same way in the winters in which he has multiple players at the same position: Rather than market a group of pitchers simultaneously in the offseason, general managers have noted that Boras has often pushed them one at a time in discussions with teams. This way, interested teams aren't viewing them as one of many items on the menu of a diner. Rather, each is presented as today's special.
The Yankees seem to be taking the same approach here. So Chapman is, in a sense, the catch of the day: If you want to trade for a reliever who can alter the composition of your bullpen and make your team better armed to get through October, Chapman is the best and only significant option available in the market today. And by day's end, he could be with the Cubs or the Nats or some other team, and he'll give that club a better chance to win the World Series.