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    Sticker shock: Cost of coveted closers skyrocketing


    Aroldis Chapman, the hardest thrower in baseball, predictably landed the richest contract ever for a relief pitcher: Five years and $86 million.
    Time Sports

    NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The World Series champion Chicago Cubs, who have already raised ticket prices and will be minting money for the foreseeable future, took a look at the pricey free agent market for closers and sought another option.

    Even though Aroldis Chapman performed admirably after the Cubs dealt for him July 25 — general manager Jed Hoyer said they wouldn’t have won the title without him — they didn’t try to retain the game’s hardest thrower.

    “You have to think long and hard about where you place your multiyear bets,” Hoyer said Wednesday after acquiring closer Wade Davis from the Kansas City Royals for promising outfielder Jorge Soler. “We decided to make a swap instead of extending ourselves on a long-term deal.”

    Not everybody has that luxury.

    Contenders such as the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins are lacking an established ninth-inning guy. Venturing into the realm of elite available relievers, only free agent Kenley Jansen remains.

    The New York Yankees agreed to pony up $86 million over five years to reunite with Aroldis Chapman, a person with direct knowledge told USA TODAY Sports.

    The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

    The San Francisco Giants already felt the sticker shock when they had to…

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