Sunday, January 10, 2010
Updated: January 11, 12:02 PM ET
Reports: Chapman headed to Cincy
ESPN.com news services
Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman has an agreement to play with the Cincinnati Reds, multiple outlets reported on Sunday.
One source told ESPN The Magazine's Jorge Arangure that the Reds expect to sign Chapman, a coveted left-handed pitcher, to a deal believed to be worth $30 million over five years.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Chapman agreed to a deal on Sunday morning. Other outlets reported the deal as well. The Reds called a news conference for noon on Monday.
Chapman's representatives said Sunday afternoon that the deal is not done and would not confirm the team but did say the Reds are "possible."
"We have to wait still," agent Rodney Fernandez wrote to ESPN The Magazine in a text message in regard to a possible deal with the Reds. "It's possible. We'll see."
Reports earlier last week had the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels in the bidding for Chapman.
Chapman attended a Yankees playoff game in New York and also visited Red Sox officials in Fenway Park while he was still represented by his previous agent, Edwin Mejia. Last month, Chapman held a workout in Houston attended by more than a dozen teams, including the Red Sox, who have scouted him extensively in international play.
He was also being courted by the Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins, though The Miami Herald reported last week that the Marlins would drop out of the bidding if the price exceeded $20 million.
Chapman, 22, was a sensation pitching for the Cuban national team in last spring's World Baseball Classic, with a fastball that topped 100 mph, but some officials have expressed concerns about his control.
"He's the real deal,'' one scout told ESPNBoston.com on Thursday. "He's a real good athlete. When he was pitching for Cuba, it was almost like he was a reliever when he was starting, told to throw as hard as he could for as long as he could.
"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.''
Chapman defected last July, leaving the Cuban national team after it arrived in the Netherlands for a tournament. He then established residency in Andorra so he could choose his team as a free agent and not be subject to baseball's draft.
Chapman's original representative filed a lawsuit against his current agent in Massachusetts state court last month, claiming Hendricks Sports Management illegally lured him away from Athletes Premier International and Mejia.
The suit accuses Hendricks of tortious interference and unjust enrichment, claiming Athletes Premier "invested substantial time and hundreds of thousands of dollars" on Chapman's behalf to help him defect, establish residency in Andorra and begin negotiating with major league teams.
The Hendricks agency has called the lawsuit "pure fiction and self delusion."
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Jorge Arangure, ESPNBoston.com baseball writer Gordon Edes and The Associated Press was used in this report.