Aroldis Chapman dazzled viewers of the most recent World Baseball Classic with his smooth left handed delivery and his sizzling 100 MPH fastball. The Cuban defector is now shopping his services to the clubs of the Major Leagues.
It was expected that the usual suspects would be involved, and they are. The Yankees hosted Chapman during Game Six of the ALCS. Boston, Baltimore, and the White Sox have also shown interest, as have the Cardinals and Mets.
And now, you can add the Detroit Tigers to the list of interested parties. As first reported by Melissa Segura of SI.com, the team has contacted the 21 year old fireballer to set up a meeting within the week. MLB.com’s Jason Beck spoke with Tom Moore, the Tigers director of international operations, who confirmed the team’s interest, but cautioned that the Tigers are simply taking the opportunity to get to know the pitcher and do not expect to enter a bidding war.
Chapman’s services are expected to cost somewhere in the $30-40 million range, a price tag that likely will be too high for the Tigers, especially with holes to fill elsewhere. While I applaud the Tigers for taking the time to kick the tires on Chapman, it would appear their best use of that time would be to devote it elsewhere. The Tigers have decisions to make on their own free agents, which should be their top priority.
Of course, the Tigers have come out of nowhere in the past to scoop up players, as they did with the Miguel Cabrera trade, so it isn’t completely far-fetched that they could swoop in for Chapman. If that were to happen, and I doubt it does, you would have to expect that another move would be made to open a rotation spot for him. Such a move would almost have to include shedding salary as Detroit doesn’t figure to have much in the way of payroll flexibility.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are too many moving parts here to start trying to connect the dots. For now, I’m inclined to take Moore’s word that the Tigers are simply doing their due diligence.