Aroldis Chapman to the Reds

Amazing. Stunning. Surprising.

When Cuban defector and left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman and his agents scheduled a workout last month and started the bidding process, I will freely admit that I never once expected the Reds to be major players for his services.

Not only were they major players, the Reds were the winners of the sweepstakes.Yahoo Sports first reported that Chapman and the Reds agreed on a five-year, $30 million deal. I’m hearing from my source that it was five years at $25 million with a sixth year option at another $5 million. The money will be spread over several years, which keeps the financial hit less severe up front.

The deal will be announced either Sunday night or Monday morning. Chapman still must take a physical.

Published reports over the last month have compared the 22-year-old lefty as a Cuban Randy Johnson. Although, I believe he’s 6-foot-4 and not 6-10 like the just retired Big Unit. 

There has been mentions that Chapman throws power stuff in the 95-97 mph range but that he has touched 100 mph on the radar gun. The stories also said his control needs a lot of work, much like Johnson in his early years. Some clubs liked Chapman as a starter, and others as a reliever.

What makes this development remarkable is the Reds appeared to have outbid teams like the Blue Jays, Angels and Red Sox. Cincinnati has barely made a whisper with moves this winter. This is the same club that non-tendered Jonny Gomes because it feared he might get $3 million in arbitration. They have also avoided dabbling in the free agent market because of what’s been said was an inflexible payroll.

I have messages left with GM Walt Jocketty and Chapman’s agents — the Hendricks brothers.

I’d imagine Chapman would start 2010 in the Minors but if and when he joins the rotation, he would be teamed with other young guys like Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey and when he’s back from Tommy John surgery rehab, Edinson Volquez.

Keep in mind that Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are headed for their final guaranteed seasons. Both have 2011 options.

So what do you think? Happy? Not happy?

Fans have been clamoring for a big signing all winter and this definitely qualifies. However, it’s not a proven big league veteran and the risk is a little higher.

Respond.

10:20 p.m. update: The Reds revealed they are holding a 12 p.m. ET press conference on Monday to make a “major announcement.”

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13 Comments

“Keep in mind that Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are headed for their final guaranteed seasons.”Can you say $24 million in savings starting in 2011. With the Scott Rolen savings this looks GREAT but, it doesn’t address the offense. A Jermaine Dye type player is needed and with Vlad getting around $6 million I would think Dye would be around that price. Keep up the good work Walt.

Mark, any clue on the roster move the Reds will make to make room for Chapman?

no word yet on corresonding roster move since the team hasn’t formally announced anything. I might be wrong, but I believe they are at 39 players anyway since no one replaced Gomes on the roster.

Mark- In your opinion, is there going to be a large contract to come off the books before this season’s end? Would it be getting rid of Arroyo while he has high(er) trade value or Harang? There are pro’s and con’s of both, but Id prefer to hang on to Arroyo and let Harang go. Itd obviously be nice for Harang to return to his self of old and Arroyo to pick up where he left off. Thoughts?

-Matt

Whether contracts come off of the books or not during the season, depends mostly on how the team is doing. If they’re contending by July 31, I’d highly doubt they’d purge salary if they’re interested in winning.

Great move by the organization. What is one thing you can never have enough of? Pitching! The Twins made it to the playoffs by having young arms in their system when other players went down. I say hang on to Harang, and Arroyo, at least till the season begins to pan out because we don’t know how things will develop.-for better or worse. What I want to see from Reds fans is restraint and understanding that Chapman is a young pitcher in many aspects and not to start foaming at the mouth for his promotion to the Bigs if the team suffers in June etc. I would hate for Chapman’s to endure what Homer Bailey did, at least in the near constant criticism of the player whenever he did anything. Give him time, get off his back, and just watch as we have clearly seen Homer turn the corner at the end of last season. Keep it up Mr. Jocketty.

Hi Mark,
What can we realistically expect with Chapman this season? Chapman being in Arizona for the spring will bring some big time hype to Reds camp, which is sorely needed with this club. I would also have to imagine that Chapman will be working extensively with Mario Soto. Soto is another spanish speaking coach who will help Chapman acclimate to life and pitching in the United States. Also, Chapman has been trying unsuccessfully to develop a changeup, and there may be no better coach to teach him a deadly third pitch than Soto. Enjoy it, Reds fans, we don’t normally get this much excitement in January!

This is AWESOME. Walt and Co. are being very clever with their limited resources. I am interested to see how we handle such a valuable player. Do you think Soto becomes his personal coach this year?

Damn good job by the Reds! Who knows how he will pan out. He has mechanical flaws, but a good pitching coach can work with that. I just applaud Cincy for being in the mix. I say nothing ventured, nothing gained. I am not in favor of a salary cap, but until baseball figures out a better system for the Can’s and CanNot’s, I appreciate the Reds putting themselves out like this. What good is it coming from the biggest city in the country if I don’t have good, solidly-rooted competition to play against. 1869 means something to me. It should mean something to all right thinking baseball minds.

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I’m very excited about the prospect of yet another good young power pitcher being signed by the reds. If he can get a little more control and Soto can teach him a changeup(like he did for Cueto) I think this kid could be deadly. I’m shocked we made such a bold move, but i really do love it. I personally can’t wait til our rotation has 1. Volquez 2. Chapman 3. Cueto 4. Bailey 5. Arroyo/Harang

Wow, great news for Red fans… Damn we needed some.

No big hurry to bring him up either. We have Maloney, Wood, and alot of others like Leake that should be able to fill the need for a 5th SP this year, and that should allow him time to learn that changeup and maybe a split fingered fastball to go with his fastball and slider. I see a great future for the Reds.

I gotta think this was the plan all along – the impetus behind the Rolen deal. Great stuff! We’re all assuming he’s going to be a starter. Sounds good to me, but how’s the bullpen shaping up?

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