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Chapman Goes to the Reds

In a previous article, I predicted that Aroldis Chapman would go to the Angels or at least another big market club. I was wrong. Chapman signed with the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday for 6 years and $30.25 million. Apparently the Reds had been “going after him like crazy” according to a source. The December 15th workout that took place in Houston rapidly increased his stock. Initial bids for Chapman were made by the Marlins and Red Sox and hovered around the $15 million mark. So its apparent he impressed scouts.

He immediately becomes the top prospect in the Reds organization. He will be groomed as a starter. Some predict that he will end up in the high minor leagues while others think he could start the year in the Reds rotation. More than likely, he will start in the minors to work on his delivery. The Reds envision him as an eventual top of the rotation guy.

The signing by the Reds surprises me. For instance, Chapman never watched a single MLB game and couldn’t name all the teams in the league. He even had to look at a map before he decided. It is surprising because the Reds have not had a winning season in nine seasons. They are also not a high revenue team ($72.6 million last year and expected to drop).

Apparently once he learned about the Reds, he became deeply interested. The fact that manager Dusty Baker, catcher Ramon Hernandez and pitching coach Bryan Price all speak Spanish probably factored into his decision, as Chapman speaks no English. The team also has 10 other players from Latin America.

One reason Chapman chose the Reds had to be because they offered the best deal. The Reds can afford this deal because of the structure of the contract. The $30.25 million deal includes a $16.25 million signing bonus paid over time. The guaranteed money is paid over a 10 year period. Therefore, the signing doesn’t affect the Reds current payroll. The Reds could also shed more payroll by not picking up options for Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang in 2011.

Congratulations to Randy and Alan Hendricks. Team officials involved in the deal praised the Hendricks brothers for the transparency they applied to Chapman. This was by far the most anticipated signing of the off-season and it seems to be a good fit for both parties involved.

Editor’s Note: The full breakdown of Chapman’s contract is below.

  • Signing bonuses: $1.5 million when contract approved by MLB, $1.5 million November 1, 2010/2011/2012/2013 , and $1.25 million November 1 2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020.
  • Guaranteed salary of $1 million in 2010 and 2011, $2 million  in 2012 and 2013, and $3 million in 2014.  Within 5 days of the 2014 World Series, Chapman must decide whether to exercise a $5 million player option for 2015.
  • If Chapman is eligible for salary arbitration after the 2012 season, he would get $5 million converted to a bonus and become eligible for arbitration.
  • If Chapman is arbitration eligible after the 2013 season, he would get $3 million converted to a bonus and then be eligible for arbitration.

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