Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman has an agreement to play with the Cincinnati Reds, multiple outlets reported on Sunday.
One source told ESPN The Magazine's Jorge Arangure that the Reds expect to sign Chapman, a coveted left-handed pitcher, to a deal believed to be worth $30 million over five years.
I'd have bet the house on Chapman winding up with the Yankees. I definitely wouldn't have even considered the Reds, who don't really have much chance of any future success in the NL Central. Chapman's a good signing, but I don't see the Reds surpassing the Cards or the Brewers. The Cubs, maybe.
At least they aren't completely apathetic in Cincy. Good on them.
Yeah, the ESPN guys were all over that, too. "Yeah, the Reds. Stop there. Not the Red Sox."
I did a quick read of Chapman's Wikipedia article. While he defected in July, this is not the first time he has attempted to do so. After he tried to defect the first time, in the spring of '08, he was brought to Havana to meet with Cuban president Raul Castro. Castro gave him a conditional reprieve, suspending him for the rest of the National Series season and keeping him off the Olympic team that went to Beijing.
Of course, he went on to defect anyway. Gotta say, that takes a lot of guts. I wish American diplomatic relations with Cuba would improve, though. When players from countries other than Cuba sign with Major League Baseball, no one ever uses the word "defection" to describe them.
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I guess you'd be surprised at what teams will do when they're contending and need to make a trade at the deadline. The Dodgers picked up Jeromy Burnitz last year for god's sake. Burnitz was paid $12 million last season.