The Cuban defect Aroldis Chapman has gotten a boatload of attention this off-season. Getting interest from 15 clubs when he worked out in Houston mid-December, the race has slowly been dwindling down ever since, with the Red Sox right in the middle of the pack. According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Chapman is likely to make a decision within the next few days on where he is going to begin his career in the US.
Back before the workout, the Sox offered Chapman a $15.5 million dollar deal, but that was before Chapman switched agents. There are, or will be, many offers for the Cuban, but the hopefully the Sox have an advantage due to their early and sustained interest. We all know how much the Sox love to grow young pitching talent.
Chapman’s future is certainly bright, but as with any young pitcher, there is risk involved. Chapman has been reported to touch triple-digit speed on occasion and threw a max of 97 when scouts saw him in Houston. According to Jorge Arangure of ESPN, Chapman looked strong mentally and physically when throwing for scouts in Houston last month and bulked up a bit from his scrawny 185 pound frame the year before. It can be taxing on an arm to through in the high 90’s consistently, especially on a skinny frame (i.e. Pedro), and that has to be a concern for any potential employer.
The good news for the Sox is that it appears the 2 NY teams are out of the running for Chapman. There are contradictory reports that the Angels are pushing hard to get the 22-year old, but they are still in the thick of it all. The Blue Jays also appear to be one of the favorites to land Chapman. Hopefully within the next few days, we will all know where Chapman is headed.