Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blue Jays trying to scoop up Chapman

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Who ever thought that the Toronto Blue Jays would enter the ring and be in contention for one of the most hotly contested pitchers in the world? MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Blue Jays discussions with Aroldis Chapman are heating up, and met with him for a private workout on Thursday. 

Here he is as a young 19-year old at the Baseball World Cup, most notably the semifinal game against Japan in which he struck out 11 and allowing only three hits. He also has a very funky Tim Lincecum-esque delivery:


One thing is evident, even from this brief footage of him at the Baseball World Cup ... this kid can throw heat. Even his pickoff throw to first base was a bullet, and I wouldn't be surprised if it clocked in at around 90 MPH.

By the brief footage I watched above, Chapman does an amazing job of overpowering hitters but does a poor job of locating his pitches.

Of course, control and locating is something he can develop in the minor leagues, but you can't teach someone to throw a 95 MPH fastball.

I'm not exactly sure what the process is with undrafted players, but a couple of commenters suggested that Chapman would go through the same process and whichever teams signs him would get Chapman for six years of service time, plus however long he spends in the minor league system.

One would have to assume this scenario is very similar to what happened with the Red Sox when they signed Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Stoeten and Parkes have sparked some good discussion over at Drunk Jays Fans about the possibility of signing the Cuban defector.

It seems like a good gamble to take on a guy who could be an elite pitcher in the near future, rather than shell out a crazy amount of cash for somebody whose best years are already behind him.

As Stoeten suggests, in the worst case scenario Aroldis Chapman is a bust the Blue Jays wasted $25 million dollars. That's really not all that much money, considering the Jays ate close to $20 million after releasing Frank Thomas and B.J. Ryan.

7 comments:

  1. I agree with your talk. This is always the chance that he is a bust, a la Contreras and Kei Igawa. However, the investment is pretty low for a guy who has a chance to be an elite pitcher. For example, guys with great "stuff" and spotty track records or health histories like A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets will probably get as much or more per year.

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  2. I wouldn't call Contreras a full out bust, as he was effective for a few years. (Igawa was an unfortunate turn of events.) Although I do absolutely agree about taking this chance on the Cuban Gumberculese.

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  3. My thoughts precisely, Steve. The money would be much better served with Chapman as opposed to a guy like Jon Garland, who would only be a temporary solution. Garland would probably want around $25 million for 3-4 years, and then he's gone.

    Chapman on the other hand, could turn into a superstar, and he's under team control for six seasons. The possibilities are endless!

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  4. @Anon: Contreras was pretty close to a bust, although looking at his Baseball Reference page, I was shocked to find out he made an all-star team. (He must have gotten out to a hot start or something in 2006, since he only finished with a 4.27 ERA.)

    His ERA with the Yankees in his first year is better than I remember, but it's also skewed by plenty of mop-up work in the pen once he got demoted from the rotation. I mostly called him a "bust" because of his bad bang-for-the-buck. At best, he's been an innings-muncher, and he's made $61 million in seven years in salary. (I can't remember if he had a signing bonus or posting fee or anything else.)

    @Ian: Garland is a horrible idea for just about any team at more than a year, blech. There isn't enough performance difference between him and a replacement arm to justify a multi-year commitment. I thought teams were smarting up to that, but then I saw the loony deals Brandon Lyon and Rodney got this off-season...

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  5. Steve, I trust that AA will veer away from any 1-2 year rentals for the starting rotation because it would make much more sense to let the young guys get some work and see if they can develop further. Why pay Garland $7 million a year when Scott Richmond can do the same for around $500,000?

    Kudos to the agents for Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney because they really got their clients a lot of money.

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  6. This move, whether it happens or not, really proves that AA and ownership are serious about contending by 'building' as per The Plan. I'm seriously hoping this deal works out for Toronto.

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  7. He's 21 now the youtube video is when he was 19.

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