The Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes have already begun. The Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Red Sox, and many other teams have already expressed their interest in the Cuban defector. Chapman has already arrived in the United States after being declared a free-agent and has started talks with Major League teams.
The Chapman Tour began about a week ago in New York. Chapman and his agent believed that it would be better if they came to the United States and negotiated, instead of the Major League clubs traveling to Andorra, Spain. Chapman became a resident in Spain after defecting from Cuba. Being a resident in Europe was a big factor in allowing the Cuban left-hander become a free-agent.
The first stop in Chapman's tour was the Empire State, where he is expected to start talks with the New York Mets and possibly the New York Yankees. Several Major League scouts have already predicted that Chapman and his agent will most likely be demanding a contract in the $40 million to $60 million dollar range. The Mets would be first to talk with the Aroldis Chapman on October 23rd, 2009.
Several Major League teams have already started to get their deals ready to propose to Chapman. But the one team that can never be counted out has not finished their season yet. That team is the New York Yankees. Chapman's agent has openly said that his client has the Bronx Bombers along the top of his list. Chapman wants to see the new Yankee Stadium as soon as he can, not as a player but as a fan. His opportunity has arrived, as the Yankees are set to take on the Los Angeles Angels for game six of the ALCS.
The Yankees are definitely willing to treat the Cuban pitcher to a good game. It could also possibly be the game where the Yankees clinch their 40th American League pennant. Winning it in front of Chapman could appeal to his emotions and make him want to be a part of such a great Yankees team, as early as next year.
But as soon as Chapman landed in the United States, there were more suitors added to the sweepstakes. The Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Baltimore Orioles have decided to join the competition for Aroldis Chapman's services.
After meeting with the Mets on Friday, there were mixed feelings after the meeting. The earliest reports stated that the Mets made a strong case for themselves, but later on the reports started to say the two sides could not get on the same page. Later on in the day, Newsday's David Lennon tweeted that the New York Mets will not bid $40 million to $60 million dollars for the Cuban left-hander.
A meeting with the New York Yankees could come soon, but Brian Cashman has not confirmed anything as of yet.
But the big story of the day will be whether Aroldis Chapman and his agent will be sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Who knows, Chapman could pull a Roger Clemens and sit in George Stienbrenner's box? Could be part of the Bleacher Creatures for a day like David Cone? One thing is for sure is that if the Yankees win the game, Chapman will be dreaming of being part of the team.
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