UNITED STATES – Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman has reportedly agreed to a $30 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports.
The 22-year-old Chapman, who defected from the Cuban National Team at an international tournament in the Netherlands last year, wooed scouts and general managers at a Dec. 15 workout in Houston. Despite not throwing at full speed, the hard-throwing southpaw still hit 97 mph on the radar gun.
The Boston Red Sox offered Chapman a $15.5 million deal in early December before the Toronto Blue Jays emerged as the front-runner with a reported $23 million contract. The Florida Marlins also were interested in the fireballer and put together a package in the $16-20 million range.
Chapman will join a young but talented rotation in Cincinnati that includes Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. Volquez remains a question mark after having Tommy John surgery last year.
His star became brighter at the 2007 IBAF Baseball World Cup, when Chapman fanned 20 batters in 15 innings during two dominating outings. However, at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the left-hander posted a worrisome 5.68 ERA in two starts.
The 6-foot-4 Chapman, whose abilities have been questioned by Cuban baseball sports writer Peter Bjarkman, impressed major league officials with his front-of-the rotation “stuff” that includes a triple digit fastball, a dangerous slider, and an above-average changeup.