Baker talks about Chapman
Reds manager Dusty Baker had spent the last few days out in the woods hunting but called me back today regarding the Aroldis Chapman signing on Monday.
Baker said he didn’t know a ton about Chapman and hadn’t seen him pitch. But he’s had previous experience working with Cuban pitchers. Osvaldo Fernandez and Livan Hernandez bothe pitched for Baker on the Giants. Fernandez was 28 when he started in San Francisco in 1996-97, missed two seasons and then pitched for the Reds in 2000-01. Hernandez was with the Giants in 1999 after he started his MLB career with the Marlins.
“A lot of Cuban pitchers are older when they get here with a lot of miles already on their arm,” Baker said on Tuesday. “[Chapman] is young and hasn’t pitched a whole lot.”
Baker, who will be able to speak Spanish to the non-English speaking Chapman, expects the 21-year-old to need time adjusting to his new culture and surroundings.
“This isn’t your normal Latin player,” Baker said. “It’s going to be far different environment from about anything else in the world he’s experienced. It’s not an easy transition. There will be an adjustment in the language, in the customs, eating and being away from family.”
“Put any one of us in that envrionment under the same circumstances and see how we fare. I played winter ball and I was gone just five months. But I could go home. That’s why we have to help him. Hopefully he will contribute this year but at the same time, we can’t rush him.”
Earlier today, I wrote a rather lengthy story that goes over how the Reds were able to sign Chapman and some of what it took.
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