Holy Crap! Cincinnati Reds Sign Cuban Uberstar Aroldis Chapman

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIJanuary 11, 2010

MEXICO CITY - MARCH 10:  Aroldis Chapman #52 of Cuba pitches against Australia during the first inning of the game during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Pool B match on March 10, 2009 at the Estadio Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds will, on Monday, Jan. 11, 2010, at high noon usher in a new era of Reds' baseball. Seemingly out of nowhere, they won the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes.

Chapman is set to earn about $5 million per annum over the next five years with a club option for a sixth.

Possibly a bit over the top, but Chapman has been hailed the best pitching prospect in the last 50 years. While that is doubtful, what's not to like about a 6'4" lefty who has been clocked consistently between 97-100 and as high as 102 mph?

The move is simply shocking for Reds' fans and, well, all of baseball. To say General Manager Walt Jocketty had been inactive during the offseason would be like saying a 104-year-old man is the best break dancer in the world.

Chapman will probably start the season in AA Carolina or possibly at AAA Louisville. 

Regardless, Major League Baseball has a brand new number one prospect. Sorry, Stephen Strasburg, but 100 mph hurling southpaws are a hotter commodity than their century dialing right-handed counterparts.

The move has all the markings of a "WIN NOW!" season expectation rather than yet another rebuilding year.

Take a listen to Houston Astros' General Manager Ed Wade's high praise of Chapman:

"The kid's got a great arm. He's a physical specimen. He's left-handed. He throws hard. Obviously, anybody would be interested in an arm like this. He's got some great stuff. The early feedback from our guys, and everybody else, is he's a tremendous talent."

Let's see.  

Great arm? Check.

Physical specimen? Check.

Left-handed? Check. 

Throws hard? Check.

Great stuff? Check.

Tremendous talent? Check.

As a Reds' fan, right now it's a bit hard to type without shaking the Chapman cold chills. 

Small market teams just don't sign guys like this. Or at least the Reds don't sign guys like this. When the Reds spend money it's on over-the-hill third basemen or horrendous leadoff hitters.

Chapman has said that his goal is to become the greatest baseball player ever. Or maybe it was just pitcher. Either way, Reds' fans not excited about this move are in a coma.

The Chapman saga flew under the radar of Cincinnati fans.  Why get excited about a guy who is going to end up playing for a team in a city with bright lights... and excess cash.

How is his control? 

Can he hit the corners? 

Secondary pitches, what are they? 

How well does he change speeds? 

Does he need a best friend while in the States?

There are so many questions that should have been researched before this article was written. 

But when waking up and hearing the biggest news to come out of Reds' country since the Frank Robinson trade for Milt Pappas, it's just too bloody hard not to write on pure adrenaline.

Are churches open on Monday?

Aroldis Chapman has suddenly given me the desire to thank a higher power.