Aroldis Chapman, Latest cyber-Buzz

Jason offers a fresh read on His Stras-ness.  We suggest you go check it out directly -- comment #4 is worth the price of admission alone.  :- ) ...  then if you're still hungry, we've got a few crackers to go with the cheese.


=== Jason I ===

There's always been this contingency side of the payroll ledger the M's come up with on occasion and blow payroll for a player. It's only happened once or twice, but if the M's are serious about Chapman, they'll have to do it again.

How true.

We remember the M's offering ARod what, $17M per, and immediately everybody started calculating what else could be had for that dough.  "It isn't going to work that way," warned Kreuger, and he was right.  ARod left, and the $17M disappeared down a cubbyhole.

Remember Daimajin's money?  The gremlins ate that, too.  Conversely, if the M's want to haul in a Beltre and Sexson in the same offseason ...

MLB teams cashflow far, far more than the casual fan is led to believe.


Anyway -- am not sure out of which budgetary column the Chapman money would come.  My guess is that a large signing bonus would come out of "Scoreboard" money or international money, and that the annual salaries would come out of payroll.

Let's say that the M's won Chapman with a $10M bonus and $6M a year for six years after making the big leagues -- i.e., 6/$46 compared to Contreras' 4/$32 several years ago.  Then you are talking about $6M in the payroll, I'm wondering.


=== Layin' Down the Law ===

I like Law fine, so when I go my own way here, don’t write in :- )

Chapman has a huge fastball and has been clocked as high as 100 mph in international competition. But he will sit more consistently in the mid-90s in his best starts and in the low 90s in some of his lesser outings.

Exactly the way we had it pictured in our earlier POTD.  On the vids he’s often 91-94 -- but can be overpowering even at that length.


The quality of his secondary stuff is a bigger question; he has thrown a slider that's sharp and approaches 90 mph, but pitches primarily off his fastball. He has the arm speed required to throw a plus slider, and has also shown a curve, a cutter and a changeup in past outings.

That's what all the scouts say, but FWIW, my impression of the vids is vastly different.  I saw three completely different breaking pitches that looked like they’d be very tough at the highest levels. 

Sometimes I wonder if amigos are writing template-reports.


There has been some question over whether his fastball-heavy approach is by choice or whether Cuban baseball officials were trying to limit his appeal to MLB clubs by preventing him from showing off his full repertoire; it is, of course, impossible to confirm that theory.

Color me verrrrrrrrrry skeptical of this theory, pardner.  Communist countries don’t enter tournaments like these unless they’re willin’ to die fer country, friend.  Russia tried to win the Cold War with gold medals.

Cuban baseball officials were trying to look good to the Castros*, is what I think.  That’s all.


Either way, the fastball/slider combination alone marks him as a potential front-line reliever. With his size and ability to hold his velocity deep into games, he offers the ceiling of a No. 1 starter.

Front-line reliever …. grrrooooooooooOOOOAN!!


=== Cue Jason Dept. ===

The key word in Chapman's value to a club is prospect. He is a pitching prospect, not a proven commodity.

I seriously doubt he's ready to jump into a big-league rotation and go through the lineup three times per night every five or six days 33-34 times per season, particularly in the American League, where most of the interested teams lie -- Seattle, Boston, New York, Detroit and Chicago joining St. Louis (maybe)Chicago and maybe the Giants in the NL... the interest of the A's and Blue Jays has been shot down.

Word.  I’m thinking that Chapman needs a lot of work.  And I question whether he’s willing to do it.

Just the same, Randy Johnson needed a lot of work, and he did it in the big leagues, I guess…


There's also the question of age. Is he really 21? If not, how old is he? 24? 27? And if he's older, what's that do to his value?

In this specific case, I don’t believe that it matters all that much, 21 vs. 24 vs. 27.  Except that if he’s 27, he’ll probably stay healthy from here.  Age-arcs don’t apply to pitchers in the way they do to hitters.

Supposing you'd had the chance to buy Satchel Paige at 21 vs 24 vs 27?  Aroldis isn't Satchel, but you see the principle involved.


The rumors are that it will take $40-60 million to land him. If that is the case, the Mariners should pass, and so should everyone else, which would obviously bring the price down.

We had a vote on this at Mariner Central, and most people wanted to give him like $2M.  LOL.

Just comparing him to other free-agent pitchers, I’d rather take my chances with Aroldis Chapman than with an average ML pitcher.  That means $8-10M per year.   He should cost much less and I expect Chapman to be a major bargain.

In the end, it's nice of the M's are serious about Chapman, but I find it hard to believe they'd ever make an offer that would compete with what the Red Sox and Yankees are likely to throw out there, and I'll applaud them for it, too.

Yeah.  He’s no Stephen Strasburg, we sez, but I’ll take Chapman along with the David Price, Andrew Miller types, and that’s a whale of an add to an MLB organization.

Good stuff,

Dr D


Photo Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images


Anonymous's picture

Other than a Felix extension, Signing Chapman seems like the best way to take advantage of the M's current payroll felixibility.
As you have mentioned in earlier posts, if the M's do not spend this money, it will undoudtedly dissapear.  Chapman seems like a better investment than O.Hudson, Abreu, N.Johnson, or anyother player you could throw money at.
A Chapman signing and a Felix extenstion would be a great way to begin this offseason.


that Chapman turned out to be the real deal, a #1-2 righty-left punch would be pretty sweet in front of Morrow, RRS, Snell, maybe even Bedard...

Anonymous's picture

Y'know.  I'm sooooo underenthused about the hype for Chapman.  I think part of the reason is that I cannot for the life of me recall the great Cuban HITTERS of the past 30 years.  Which brings up the question of competitive level.
We know that Strasburg has great physicality -- and superb stats.  But, everyone also knows that the competition he faced, (outside the CWS), wasn't the best in college baseball.  So, as you do with every college player, you take into account the level of the competition when projecting ultimate outcomes.
I guess there are some great cuban hitters to play in the majors - maybe somebody can fill in my knowledge gap.  But, by and large, I mostly remember the pitchers.  It's generally the pitchers who used to lead the Cubans to international victories.  And here's where I'm going with this.  I'm not sure that Cuban HITTERS are coached much in baseball fundamentals of hitting.  My picture, (an oversimplification), is one of over-aggressive hitters, who pound lesser pitchers into the ground, and are utterly dominated by better talent.  My sense is one where Cuban pitchers NEVER have to develop particularly good control, because they're facing Jose Lopez, and his 900 clones every game.
So, my view on Cuban pitching talent is that it is "tainted".  It's not that they can't be great athletes.  But, I think ultimately, they start well behind their peers in too many areas, as a result of the environment that they are developed in.  The standard path has been that many of these guys are older when they finally reach America, and therefore get sent directly to the majors ... where they struggle, showing flashes, but typically suffering from far too much inconsistency. 
If I'm crystal balling Chapman, I peg him as the next Morrow -- flashes of dominant stuff with aggregate production that is frustrating and disappointing. 


Lopez has a pretty good idea of the strikezone these days...he just prefers not to walk...he chooses to try to foul off tough pitches because he likes to swing the bat (as most latin players do).

Taro's picture

I'm just glad the Angels whiffed on him... :-)
I can't blame the Ms for balking at that price, but Chapman is one heck of a raw talent..

misterjonez's picture

like Ryan Anderson, Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman represents a 10-20% chance of re-aligning whatever division they play in, and a 20-30% chance of coming in a tad short of that (only causing minor gastric ulcers to opposing teams).
Yeah, I'm glad Chapman is literally about as far away from Seattle as possible. Don't get me wrong, I'd be at the head of the line trying to give him his $30mil (hey, do it five times and you end up with a Felix Hernandez and a Rich Harden, maybe/probably). It's just that barring putting him in the hometown jersey, the best place for him has the virtue of geographic and league barriers preventing him pulling a Pedro on us.
Imagine if THAT guy had pitched for one of the other three teams in our division, rather than Boston. Yuck.

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