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Tag:Aroldis Chapman
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 6:40 pm
 

Cespedes could top Chapman's $30 million contract

Aroldis Chapman's big contract surprised some people as much as his 105 mph fastball.

Get prepared to be surprised again.

Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes, currently working out for teams in the Dominican Republic, will likely match or even top the six-year, $30.5 million contract that the Reds gave Chapman two winters ago, two veteran scouts who follow the international market predicted Thursday.

"I'd take him over Chapman," one of the scouts said.

Cespedes defected from Cuba over the summer. He has yet to be declared a free agent, but that's expected to happen soon. Scouts familiar with the market say it's hard to pick a favorite to sign him, but the Yankees and Marlins are both known to have strong interest, and the Red Sox, Rangers, Cubs and possibly even the Pirates and A's could be heavily involved, as well.

Cespedes was one of the stars of the Cuban national team, and scouts drooled over him when he played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

They still do now.

"He's a five-tool guy, built like an NFL running back," one scout said. "He has tremendous raw power, with all the tools to be a 30-30 guy in the big leagues. His mother pitched on the Cuban national softball team, so he has athleticism in the family."

Asked for a comparable player who has played in the big leagues, the scout first suggested Bo Jackson, then back away, but only slightly. If you want to judge for yourself, there's a YouTube video that has already made the rounds.

The question, as with all international players, is how quickly Cespedes can adjust to American culture and to American baseball. He's already 26 years old (five years older than Chapman was when he signed), so it's not as if he is some young prospect.

Chapman, even with the 105 mph fastball, has yet to live up to expectations.

Then again, if Cespedes is a 30-30 guy in the big leagues, he's worth Chapman money and even more.

And he'll probably get it.



Posted on: June 20, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:49 pm
 

The NL Central has become injury central

I'm guessing Jonny Gomes won't be dancing around or singing. I'm guessing Ryan Braun won't be, either.

But when I talked to one Reds person a few minutes after we found out that Albert Pujols will miss the next month with a broken wrist, his reaction was exactly what you'd expect.

"You hate to see anyone get hurt," he said. "But this is great news for us."

Pujols' injury is horrible news for the Cardinals, and bad news for baseball in general -- no Pujols in the All-Star Game, for one thing -- but it's great news for the Reds and for the Brewers . . . if they can stay healthy themselves.

Seriously, has any division race in baseball been as dominated by injuries this year as the National League Central?

The Cardinals have been without Adam Wainwright all year, without Matt Holliday for two tough stretches, without other lesser-known but key pieces like David Freese and Nick Punto, and now without Albert.

The Reds were without two of their five starters (Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey) for the first month of the season, and now they're without Bailey again. Key reliever Aroldis Chapman has spent the last month on the DL, as well, although his injury is much less serious than his continuing control problems. And Scott Rolen has already been on the DL once, and plays with significant enough pain that he's always a threat to go back there.

The Brewers missed Zack Greinke for the first month, and Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy for most of the first month. And Shaun Marcum left his last start early with a hip problem. And key reliever Takashi Saito appeared in just two games before going on the DL, where he remains.

Every year in spring training, someone reminds us that it's often not the best team that wins, but the healthiest. Every year, some very talented team doesn't make the playoffs, and injuries are one of the biggest reasons (2010 Red Sox).

But what happens when an entire division gets hurt?

We'll see this year, in the NL Central.

*****

As it turns out, C. Trent Rosecrans of our Eye on Baseball team was in the Reds clubhouse Sunday when Pujols was hurt, and he can confirm that neither Gomes nor any of the other Reds were singing about it.

"The only thing I heard was someone talking about being upset that he was hurt," Rosecrans said.

You might remember the minor stir in spring training, when Gomes was reported to be happily singing about Wainwright's injury (a report that Gomes stridently denied).
Posted on: May 25, 2011 9:11 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 10:35 pm
 

Chapman's in AAA, and Cordero's (almost) at 300

PHILADELPHIA -- Remember when Francisco Cordero was supposedly on borrowed time as the Reds closer? Remember when Reds fans were screaming for Aroldis Chapman to take his place?

Now Chapman is on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment that is designed at least as much to help him find command as it is to get him healthy.

And Cordero -- despite his second blown save of the year on Wednesday night -- is about to become the second Dominican-born closer ever with 300 saves.

It's hard to know exactly what 300 means, since Trevor Hoffman is the all-time leader at 601 and Mariano Rivera (572) is on the way to passing him.

But it is worth remembering that Bruce Sutter, one of the best closers ever, retired with 300 saves.

"[Cordero] is much-maligned, but he's about to tie a Hall of Famer," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

Cordero is off to an outstanding start this season, or at least he was until giving up Ryan Howard's game-tying home run in the 10th inning Wednesday. Even so, Cordero is 9-for-11 in save opportunities, with a 2.01 ERA, giving him 299 career saves in 365 chances over 13 seasons.

For Cordero, the significance of 300 is that Jose Mesa is the only other closer from the Dominican Republic to get there. Mesa retired with 321 saves.

Cordero plans to pitch long enough to catch Mesa. He plans to pitch long enough to add quite a few more saves.

"I feel young, even though I'm 36," said Cordero, who is in the last guaranteed year of his contract with the Reds (who hold a $12 million option for 2012 that most likely won't be exercised). "I'm going to try to pitch as long as I'm healthy. Could I go until I'm 40? Right now, I'd tell you yes."

Baker said this is the best Cordero has pitched in the four years they've been together with the Reds. He said Cordero is healthier and in better shape.

Pitching coach Bryan Price said the big difference is that Cordero, mostly a fastball-slider pitcher in recent years, is now using his changeup and curve much more.

"He's a little less predictable," Price said. "He's a four-pitch pitcher now."

Meanwhile, Chapman is at Triple-A Louisville, just trying to figure things out. Price said that while Chapman is scheduled to appear two more times for Louisville (Thursday and Sunday), it's not guaranteed he'll rejoin the Reds next week.

"It's the same as with [Edinson] Volquez," Price said. "They're down there until they're pitching the way they're capable of pitching."

Price disputes the notion that the Reds have to get Chapman back to where he was.

"We need to get him beyond that," Price said.

Meanwhile, Cordero is just focused on getting to 300 saves -- and beyond. And he's even more impressed at what Hoffman and Rivera have done.

"600 saves? That's ridiculous," Cordero said. "I'm going to get to 300 and feel like it's a big deal. And they're at 600. That's ridiculous."
 
Posted on: April 11, 2011 12:23 pm
 

At 103 mph, Chapman still excites

By now, we all know that Aroldis Chapman throws hard.

We still get excited by seeing it.

When I asked one scout what stood out to him from the Reds-Diamondbacks series over the weekend, the Reds reliever was one of the first things he mentioned.

"A legit 103," he said. "He was 103 on all the guns. I've never seen anyone else do that. Nobody has. The Arizona fans don't know too much about what's going on, but they knew him. Whatever [the Reds] paid him, it was worth it."

And yet -- pay attention, Reds fans -- this same scout believes that the Reds should keep Chapman in exactly the same role he's in now, setting up closer Francisco Cordero. He said Chapman is still too inconsistent with his command to be trusted as a closer.

"He's right where he belongs," the scout said. "He still throws too many pitches. For a year or two, they should keep him right where he is."
Category: MLB
Posted on: March 14, 2010 7:14 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2010 7:15 pm
 

From Florida to Arizona, Chapman to Strasburg

VIERA, Fla. -- Aroldis Chapman is the guy everyone wants to see in Arizona. Stephen Strasburg is the guy everyone wants to see in Florida.

Imagine if they were both in the same spring training camp.

"I spent a lot of time imagining that," Nationals president Stan Kasten said with a smile.

The Nationals were one of a few teams that went deep into the bidding for Chapman, along with the A's, the Marlins and the Reds, who eventually got the deal done for $30.25 million over six years. The Nationals' final bid was for about $25 million.

"I give [Reds general manager] Walt Jocketty a lot of credit," Nats GM Mike Rizzo said.


Strasburg made his second start of the spring today, overcoming strong winds to throw three scoreless innings against the Cardinals. In two starts, the 21-year-old right-hander has pitched five scoreless innings, impressing just about everyone who has seen him.

The Nationals will almost certainly have him start his pro career in the minor leagues, but they see him joining their rotation soon. And they still dream of what it would have been like to have had Chapman in that rotation, too.

"It would have been an excellent 1-2 punch," Rizzo said.

*****

One question I had about Chapman: If he's as good as advertised, what happened to the big-spending teams? Nothing against the Reds, A's, Marlins and Nationals, but couldn't the Yankees or Red Sox have blown them out of the water?

One possible answer is that the big-money teams weren't as impressed. The other, though, is that Chapman told teams he was very focused on getting to the big leagues quickly, and was most interested in going to a team that would give him that chance.

*****

I missed Chapman's first start for the Reds, because I had to be at the Brewers camp that day. I missed Jason Heyward, because he didn't play either of the times I saw the Braves.

I wasn't about to miss a chance to see Strasburg. He doesn't disappoint, even if his velocity today wasn't as good as it can be (94-96 mph). As one of the scouts watching said, he shows two legitimate strikeout pitches (fastball and breaking ball), and he's willing to throw the breaking ball at any time.

*****

Livan Hernandez, who followed Strasburg, has a chance to open the season in the Nationals rotation. But what was more interesting to me is what Hernandez, who left Cuba in 1995, had to say about Chapman, who left last year.

While first saying that the decision on whether to have Chapman start in the big leagues is up to the Reds front office, Hernandez said that he thinks any Cuban defector can benefit from time in the minor leagues.

"I think the language will be the most difficult thing for him," Hernandez said.

Hernandez spent all of the 1996 season and part of the 1997 season in the minors.

"I think it helped me a lot," he said. "I think [Chapman] is going to be all right. But the game here is different from Cuba."

And what about Reds fans, who are so anxious to see the guy the Reds gave all that money to?

"Their fans can wait a little bit," Hernandez said.
Posted on: March 9, 2010 7:04 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:06 pm
 

Goodbye Cactus, Hello Grapefruit

ORLANDO -- I've traded Aroldis Chapman for Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay, Angel Guzman for Joe Nathan, Los Sombreros in Scottsdale for Frenchy's in Clearwater, cactus for grapefruit.

After three weeks checking out the 15 teams in Arizona, I've checked out of Phoenix and touched down in Florida (and colleague Scott Miller has left Florida for the desert).

A few sights, thoughts and observations from half of spring training with half the teams:

-- Best story: It doesn't get much better than Chapman, whose name comes up in almost every Cactus League ballpark, whether the Reds are there or not. The other day in Mesa, scouts were debating whether he'd have signed for the same money if he was Dominican rather than Cuban. The consensus: Yes, he would have, because you just don't find left-handed starters who throw 100 mph.

-- Best team: The White Sox, whose road to an American League Central title got a little easier with today's news about Twins closer Joe Nathan. Other impressive teams: The Rockies, the Mariners and the Angels.

-- Worst team: The Indians, even though prospects Carlos Santana ("another Victor Martinez") and Lonnie Chisenhall are getting great reviews.

-- Player who looks the most different: With apologies to Andruw Jones and Geovany Soto, it has to be Matt Stairs, barely recognizable after losing 37 pounds. "When you get to Clearwater, tell [Shane] Victorino that I'm smaller than him," Stairs requested. And we will. Oh, and give credit to Jones and Soto, who both seem to have taken conditioning seriously over the winter.

-- Team that has the most fun: Apologies to the Rockies and the Brewers, but it's got to be the Mariners. Just the sight of Felix Hernandez serving as bat boy in the M's intrasquad game (with "BB" taped over the number on his back) was all the proof I needed.

-- Strangest sight: Walking through the abandoned White Sox clubhouse building in Tucson for the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton press conference. The Sox moved to Glendale last year, but the doors to the empty clubhouse still have Sox logos on them. Next year, all of Tucson will be a baseball ghost town, but for now, it's just half of Tucson Electric Park.

-- Best quote: A tie between Torii Hunter and Ozzie Guillen. Torii on losing to the Yankees in the playoffs: "I couldn't stand up. All I want now is the ring. Not a gold glove. Not the Hall of Fame. My satisfaction would be winning the World Series. If I get that, I'm passing out on the field." Ozzie on whether Lou Piniella will manage past 2010: "They keep paying you, why go see your family every day? We need people like Lou in this game. Lou is what . . . just 65? I thought he was 78."
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com