As the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes heat up, one thing has become a bit more clear: Chapman will not be signing with the Yankees, Mets, or Astros. Chapman is set to decide on a club very soon, and these three clubs have fallen out of contention for the flame-throwing Cuban lefty.
Three doors have been shut. Which means three more have opened. Behind door No. 3 stands Boston GM Theo Epstein. Behind door No. 2 stands Florida GM Michael Hill, and occupying door No. 1 is Anaheim GM Tony Reagins.
Let's take a look at door No. 2, shall we?
As of last night, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweeted that internally the Marlins have "conceded defeat" in the Chapman sweepstakes. The Marlins had been considered a favorite to land Chapman due to South Florida's large Cuban population. Florida was hoping this, coupled with a fair contract, might tempt the 21-year-old to sign for a hometown discount.
It's been reported that the Marlins offered Chapman a $13 million contract, but have upped the ante since then. This was probably a good idea considering Boston remains one of the only teams with a confirmed offer already set at $15.5 million.
So is Florida in, or are they out? I'm going to say the Fish are out; the only thing they have going is South Florida's population. They don't have the resources to reel in a big fish like Chapman.
Shut the door on Florida. Let's go back to Boston.
If they plan on inking Chapman to a deal they will need to go above and beyond the previous $15 million offer. Ever since the Mark Teixeira negotiations went belly up, Theo has been reluctant to waver on the price he believes a player is worth. Chapman's price seems to be greater than $15 million and if you look at the signings Boston has made this offseason, you will notice a trend.
Other than the Beltre signing, Boston has been very reluctant to play the numbers game when it comes to free agents. Scutaro, Lackey, and Cameron were all signed without any real negotiation ploys taking place.
The bottom line: If rumors of higher bidders across the league are true, you can shut the door on Boston as well. If this is the case, and it certainly seems to be, Boston, like Florida, is also out of the running.
This leaves one door remaining, and all signs have Chapman ready to ring the doorbell.
Anaheim has been considered one of—if not the— biggest loser so far this offseason. The biggest blow came when they lost John Lackey to the Red Sox.
Anaheim's rotation is weak. Even when they had Lackey to fill out the rotation, it was weak. So now it's very weak. Anaheim has the payroll to give a guy like Chapman $20 million, and most likely will. It's not like they are giving it to some bum off the street. I know it's a ton of money to spend on a kid who hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues, but Chapman looks to be the real deal.
So when it's all said and done, Aroldis Chapman is most likely going to be an Anaheim Angel.
I said "most likely" for a reason. I'd put my money on Anaheim, but like several game shows, there is always the possibility of a bonus door, a wild card for which no one accounts.
The wild card in the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes may just be Toronto.
Reports have been surfacing that Anaheim and Toronto are the favorites, and that Chapman may sign with one of the two clubs for upwards of $21 million.
With a decision looming, one thing is certain. No matter what jersey Chapman decides to wear, he has already made it. The Cuban defector stands to become a very rich man.