January 10, 2010, The Cincinnati Reds welcomed left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman by offering the Cuban pitcher $30.25 million for a guaranteed six-year deal. A Cuban pitcher that had no idea what baseball was like in the United States. He didn’t even know any of the teams.
Chapman has had a past that has prevented him from playing for Cuba’s national league, and also from going to the Beijing Olympics due to a defect in 2008. But I’m sure that taking a little leave won’t prevent him from throwing some heat from the mound. Chapman tops speed over 100 mph. When that happened, that what grabbed the attention of Major League scouts. Chapman, who had never seen snow until he got to Cincinnati, became interested in the Reds when he was doing workouts in Houston. He learned what Cincinnati was about and what they could offer him, and slowly after time, Chapman couldn't resist.
The Reds haven’t been the smartest team when it came to scouting. Now they have worked on a plan that should help them in the future. They have decided that drafting young athletes and international players will be a key to success. The Reds never really have taken chances on any players. So for them to take a chance is a pretty big step for the Reds. Is this going the missing link that could actually put more W’s next to the Red’s name instead of L’s?
Why invest in international players? Players from foreign countries such as the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Havana, etc. can really play the game. A lot of American athletes become intimidated by an international player just because they have the knowledge and skills that help them succeed on the field. American athletes can compete, but there’s just something that an international player has that proves that they can really bring it.
With the $30.25 and the six-year deal, Chapman will get payments in increments over the years. A lot of people have questioned the deal, but without realizing that the pay comes in increments. Chapman won't get the last of his money until 2014. And this year, Chapman will start off by only getting $1 million. However, the Reds did overpay, but a lot of MLB pitchers have contract deals for less than five and get about $30 million.
Chapman won’t be showing his face at Great American Ballpark this season. He’ll start off playing for the Double-A and if he can work on some other pitches that can add to what he has to make him worth the money well spent, he’ll see some time. Chapman’s main concern is his delivery. He doesn’t have the best control on his pitches. When he played for Holguin, he walked 203 in 327 2/3 innings.
But don’t get your hopes up just yet Cincinnati. The Red’s want the 21-year-old pitcher to be an ace when he gets his shot on the mound. The Reds are trying to rebuild their program that seems to be slightly going downhill over the past few years. But this signage could be a turning point. If Chapman proves that he’s got what it takes on the mound, the Reds made a smart decision signing him. But if he’s not the number one or number two pitcher, the Reds did not spend their money wisely.
With the Reds rotation as of now, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, Chapman will help the Reds pitching be unstoppable. But pitching is not the only thing that a team needs. Maybe the Reds should have done some more recruiting and looked into some power hitters that could be helpful
"What we think he needs now is some refinement in his delivery, because everything else is there," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "This is a talent that doesn't come along very often." As Reds fans, let’s hope so for our sake.