Cuban star Chapman joins Reds
Cincy reels in prized left-hander with six-year deal
CINCINNATI -- Until he pitches in a big league game, Aroldis Chapman and his potential will carry some degree of mystery. But as bids were being entered for his services, the Reds simply knew they had to have the flame-throwing left-handed pitcher.
Several clubs were mentioned in media reports during the process, but when it was over, it was the Reds that surprised everyone when they successfully signed the 21-year-old defector from Cuba."When you look at the size of the market where we are in Cincinnati, we have to take some bold moves from time to time to try and improve this franchise and make it better," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said during a news conference on Monday at Great American Ball Park. How's this for bold? The unproven Chapman will receive $30.25 million over the next six years, plus incentives. He was given a $16.25 million signing bonus. Much of the money will be spread out over 10 years. In comparison, fellow Cuban defector Jose Contreras received a $32 million contract with a reported $6 million bonus when he signed with the Yankees in December 2002. Recent overall No. 1 Draft pick Stephen Strasburg's total signing package from the Nationals was worth $15 million with a $7.5 million bonus. The 2001 Draft's No. 2 pick, pitcher Mark Prior, received $10.5 million as a bonus from the Cubs. Chapman's agent, Randy Hendricks, said that the Reds beat out the A's to get the pitcher. There was an unnamed third-place team that Hendricks would not reveal, only that it was also a team with a sub .500 record in 2009. Other clubs believed to have been in the hunt were the Nationals, Blue Jays, Marlins, Angels and Red Sox. The Red Sox were the first to bid with an initial $15.5 million offer in early December. Toronto reportedly offered $23 million. The Marlins also reportedly offered a deal in the $16 million range. "The Reds were persistent all the way through," Hendricks said. "They were one of several teams that were very much in the mix all the way." Chapman, who will turn 22 in February, pitched in a workout for scouts on Dec. 15 in Houston and impressed, as he threw what was termed by Hendricks at 85 percent. The final pitch of the workout was clocked at 97 mph.
|"Hopefully he is one of our top five starters when we break camp. We'll have him go down and work on what he needs to work on."|
-- Reds GM Walt Jocketty,|
on Aroldis Chapman
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.