The Reds have won the bidding for hard-throwing Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman.
Cincinnati has agreed to a $25 million major league contract with Chapman, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The pact, which will become official if Chapman passes a physical this week, is for five years with a player option for a sixth. The club, though, will make payments over 10 years, the newspaper reports.
Chapman, 22, has been in high demand since defecting last July, but Cincinnati was not considered his likely destination. Last week, the Blue Jays and Angels appeared to be the front-runners. Teams like the Marlins, Yankees and Red Sox had dropped out in recent days.
There is debate in baseball circles about Chapman’s readiness to pitch in the big leagues. The Enquirer reports the Reds believe Chapman could reach the majors sometime in 2010.
What isn’t in dispute is his raw ability; he regularly touches 100 mph with his fastball and complements the pitch with a mid-80s slider.
"He’s the real deal," a scout told ESPNBoston.com last week. "He’s not ready for the big leagues yet, but he has a fabulous arm. His slider is going to be a plus pitch, and though he has no feel yet for the changeup, his arm action is good, and that could come with time."