Cuban pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday at Fenway Park. However, due to the weather in Boston, it is unclear whether he actually threw for Red Sox officials.
Yet, according to Chapman's agent, Edwin Mejia, a meeting between Red Sox management and the pitcher still took place. Mejia reported that Chapman was impressed with the organization and called it a "very good visit."
The 21-year-old left-hander has hit 102 mph on radar guns and, with a lean 6-foot-4 frame, is said to project well in the Majors.
While he throws a triple-digit heater, Chapman is said to lack command of his secondary pitches and scouts believe that he still needs time to develop in the minors.
The young Cuban defected defected on July 1 and is now officially a free agent who can go to the highest bidder. The bids are expected to be quite high.
This year's shallow free-agent pitching pool will likely make him one of the most expensive players on the market this off-season. In addition to the Red Sox, Chapman has already met with both the Yankees and the Mets.
While the young hurler is drawing interest from other clubs, such as the Tigers, the Cardinals and even the Mariners, the quest for his services will probably come down to yet another contest between the Sox and Yankees.
The other clubs are probably just window shopping and aren't likely to cough up the $40-$60 million that the Cuban left-hander is expecting.
Only the Sox and the Yanks can plunk down that kind of cash. It's difficult to imagine anyone else handing out that kind of money to a pitcher who's unproven at the big-league level.
The experience with Daisuke Matsuzaka, another high-priced, foreign-born pitcher with no prior big league experience, could cause the Red Sox to exercise caution.
The Yankees are still the marquee team around the world, and their appearance in the World Series this year will give them a leg up on the Sox.
Money being equal, Chapman will want to go with a winner, and the team with the greatest chance of future success. Despite not having won a World Series since 2000, the Yankees still have international cache.
Whether they win or lose the Fall Classic, expect the Yankees to make their usual full-court press.
Consider this: The Yankees paid Cuban right-hander Jose Contreras $32 million in 2002. How much they will bid for Chapman this year is anybody's guess.
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