According to ESPN.com’s Jorge Arangure Jr., Cuban defector and coveted prospect Aroldis Chapman will arrive in New York today to begin meeting with general managers. According to Arangure Jr., Chapman is believed by some to be the best Latin amateur to ever enter the free-agent market. Buster Olney says that some evaluators have called Chapman a “left-handed Stephen Strasburg,” referring to the Nationals draftee, who, for what it’s worth, hasn’t actually ever thrown a major-league pitch. Still, Chapman’s fastball has been clocked as high as 102 miles per hour, and there appears to be just enough hype for a good old-fashioned bidding war.
Unsurprisingly, Arangure Jr. says that it is believed the Yankees and Red Sox will be the top bidders. But the 21-year-old is expected to visit multiple cities, though it’s not known which ones. Other teams that may or may not have interest include the Angels, A’s, and Giants, and though the Mets aren’t mentioned as a potential suitor, he is in New York, and we first saw this story on MetsBlog, so maybe the Wilpons will decide to throw some of that sweet Bernie Madoff cash at him. Arangure Jr. says that Chapman could command a contract worth anywhere between $40 million and $60 million, though he doesn’t specify over how many years.
Chapman, who posted an 0–1 record and a 5.68 ERA in this year’s World Baseball Classic, has one other thing going for him: He had his passport with him when he defected (by walking out of his hotel in Rotterdam), which means his age is easily verified. Unlike some people.