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.
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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