Cuban Aroldis Chapman, an Interesting Prospect to Any Team
- Submitted by: admin
- 09 / 23 / 2009
Expect the Red Sox to be among the many teams who will explore signing the 21-year-old left-hander, whose features include a 100-plus mph fastball, a 6-foot-4 frame and four years of professional experience pitching in Cuba.
Since the Cuban defected while in the Netherlands in July, teams have been waiting for the process to unfold where he would become an unrestricted free agent. A major development took place over the weekend when Chapman was able to establish residency in Andorra, a tiny country situated between France and Spain. Major League Baseball is currently evaluating the paperwork but is expected to grant him unrestricted free agency in the coming weeks.
Chapman’s agent, Boston-raised Edwin Mejia, appreciates the value of his client, but he wants to be sure not to let the bidding begin before its time.
“He’s a gentleman, he’s humble, he understands his gift and doesn’t take his talent for granted,” Mejia said yesterday by phone from Andorra. “He wants to be great, and he’s coachable.”
The Chapman bidding should result in the biggest international free agent signing since Jose Contreras signed with the New York Yankees in 2002 (four years, $32 million). Daisuke Matsuzaka [stats]’s 2006 deal with the Red Sox came about as part of the Japanese posting process, therefore he was not categorized as a free agent.
The Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers are among the teams frequently mentioned as expected suitors for Chapman. The Sox did not want to comment about Chapman yesterday, but he is no secret to international scouts.
Earlier this month, the Red Sox signed Cuban shortstop Jose Iglesias to a major league deal, and the team should be expected to do its due diligence where Chapman is concerned.
Mejia’s opinion is that Chapman would be ready to pitch in the majors.
“But I’m not going to dictate to an interested team what they should do with a player,” Mejia said.
Mejia was asked what is important for his client when it comes to signing with a particular team.
“It’s tough to answer without saying anything specific and without visiting with the team first, but he simply wants to go with whatever team wants him the most,” he said.
When the time comes, Mejia does plan on hearing from the Sox.
“I would be shocked if the Red Sox didn’t at least inquire about him,” he said, “but right now, it’s a little early for any of that.”
Source: Boston Herald