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Thread: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials TBD)

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Hot Stove Report: Reds made a good, not great, bet on Chapman

    Locked out of the U.S. by a war that ended two decades ago, best seen abroad at tournaments watched by few Americans who aren't paid to take in games, Cuban ballplayers are men about whom we know nothing in an age when we know more than we'd like to about nearly everyone else. This makes them mysterious and attractive. So the surprise isn't that Aroldis Chapman signed a six-year contract worth at least $30 million this week, but that he didn't sign for more.

    A long 22-year-old whose fastball has allegedly lit guns at 102 miles per hour has an obvious appeal. One whose life has already led him from Holguin to Rotterdam and beyond, and whose name alone conjures blue smoke, old pianos and whatever else it is that people think of when they think of Cuba, has even more. Mystique, though, has yet to win a major league ball game, and if the Cincinnati Reds ever regret signing Chapman, it will be because they paid for it.

    "When you look at the size of the market where we are in Cincinnati," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said at the press conference announcing the signing, "we have to take some bold moves from time to time to try and improve this franchise." True to a point, but better sharp moves than bold ones.

    The issue isn't actually the famed $30 million. Lots of bad players make lots more than $5 million per year, and even a relatively poor team like the Reds can afford the loss Chapman that will represent if two weeks from now he falls into stately love with steakhouses, bars and ponies. The issue is the peculiar structure of his contract, which guarantees the player a lot and the team a little. This is where the Reds overpaid, and in a way one doubts they would have for someone without Chapman's aura.

    According to reports, Chapman will be paid a $16.25 million signing bonus and annual salaries of $1 million over the next two years, $2 million in the two after that and $3 million the year after that. He also has a $5 million player option for 2013. The trick -- credit his agents, the Hendricks brothers -- is that if he pitches enough to qualify for salary arbitration after 2012 or 2013, he earns bonus money and enters the arbitration process.

    This is confusing, so think of it in terms of an unlikely scenario. Say Chapman is so blindingly good this spring that the Reds are forced to bring him up within the first six weeks of the season, and that from then through the end of the contract he pitches like a true ace, a $25 million a year pitcher. The Reds will owe him his $16.25 million bonus, $4 million in salary, another $5 million bonus, and whatever arbitrators award him in the final three years of his contract. Using the rule of thumb that players get 40% of their market value in the first year of eligibility, 60% in the second and 80% in the third, Chapman could earn another $45 million. The Reds would thus have paid him about $70 million.

    No worries for Reds fans: This won't happen, and if it does they'll manage to deal with having a perennial Cy Young candidate. Still, the risk:reward ratio seems slightly off. The Reds will have to choke on tens of millions of dollars worth of lost potential if Chapman never does anything. If he's good, they'll pay out lots.

    Take a somewhat more realistic scenario, in which Chapman comes up late this year or at the beginning of next year, and is a solid No. 3 starter, the sort of player you'd pay $10 million a year to secure as a free agent, through the rest of his contract. In that case the Reds would be paying something like $40 million for $60 million worth of performance. That would be a good deal but not a great one.

    Past the contract details, any longtime fan should be able to name a half-dozen pitchers with 100 mph fastballs and supposedly crisp sliders who never did a thing, few of whom were being asked to make a cultural adjustment like the one Chapman will have to make. And there are other concerns. Peter Bjarkman, author of a well-received history of Cuban baseball and an observer of the island's baseball scene, has questioned the player's work ethic and pitching intelligence and pointed out his sketchy history in international competition and in the Cuban league, where he walked 5.5 per nine innings. Take Bjarkman's opinion for what it is, but the rest is hard fact. Chapman is not a tested ace like Orlando Hernandez or Jose Contreras, and he's nowhere close.

    For all that, I love this deal. I love that the Reds are laying marks on real talent rather than squandering $5 million on Kyle Farnsworth or someone like him. I love that Reds fans are (rightly) so excited about this. I love that Chapman can finally start thinking about the best players in the world rather than worrying about money. Mostly I love that it was the Reds, rather than the Yankees or Angels, who signed him.

    I think baseball should abolish the first-year player draft. It's absurd on its face -- imagine Google getting its pick of top graduates from MIT, Stanford and Chicago because it held a top draft slot over Microsoft and IBM -- and it doesn't help teams in small or poor markets as much as is commonly supposed. People object because they think teams like the Reds would never be able to compete with the Red Sox and Mets for top talent. That they have the man with the 102 mph fastball, and that they were competing with teams like the Blue Jays and A's to get him, shows that isn't necessarily true.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz0cixHKoto

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    I think the Chapman deal is a great one. If the Reds end up paying him the maximum amount of dollars, then GREAT! That means he's probably an ace and the Reds are probably contending for a playoff spot. I love this deal. Even if he only becomes an average starting pitcher it's still a very solid deal, IMO. I'm still excited over this signing.

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    I think Zack Greinke highlights that you can be an ace but your team does not necessarily compete for a playoff spot.

    The deal is a risk reward deal and in the end if the Chapman turns out the reds should have a strong pitching situation but they need to follow through and build the whole team and not just rely on Chapman being the great deal.

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Hot Stove Report: Reds made a good, not great, bet on Chapman

    Locked out of the U.S. by a war that ended two decades ago, best seen abroad at tournaments watched by few Americans who aren't paid to take in games, Cuban ballplayers are men about whom we know nothing in an age when we know more than we'd like to about nearly everyone else. This makes them mysterious and attractive. So the surprise isn't that Aroldis Chapman signed a six-year contract worth at least $30 million this week, but that he didn't sign for more.

    A long 22-year-old whose fastball has allegedly lit guns at 102 miles per hour has an obvious appeal. One whose life has already led him from Holguin to Rotterdam and beyond, and whose name alone conjures blue smoke, old pianos and whatever else it is that people think of when they think of Cuba, has even more. Mystique, though, has yet to win a major league ball game, and if the Cincinnati Reds ever regret signing Chapman, it will be because they paid for it.

    "When you look at the size of the market where we are in Cincinnati," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said at the press conference announcing the signing, "we have to take some bold moves from time to time to try and improve this franchise." True to a point, but better sharp moves than bold ones.

    The issue isn't actually the famed $30 million. Lots of bad players make lots more than $5 million per year, and even a relatively poor team like the Reds can afford the loss Chapman that will represent if two weeks from now he falls into stately love with steakhouses, bars and ponies. The issue is the peculiar structure of his contract, which guarantees the player a lot and the team a little. This is where the Reds overpaid, and in a way one doubts they would have for someone without Chapman's aura.

    According to reports, Chapman will be paid a $16.25 million signing bonus and annual salaries of $1 million over the next two years, $2 million in the two after that and $3 million the year after that. He also has a $5 million player option for 2013. The trick -- credit his agents, the Hendricks brothers -- is that if he pitches enough to qualify for salary arbitration after 2012 or 2013, he earns bonus money and enters the arbitration process.

    This is confusing, so think of it in terms of an unlikely scenario. Say Chapman is so blindingly good this spring that the Reds are forced to bring him up within the first six weeks of the season, and that from then through the end of the contract he pitches like a true ace, a $25 million a year pitcher. The Reds will owe him his $16.25 million bonus, $4 million in salary, another $5 million bonus, and whatever arbitrators award him in the final three years of his contract. Using the rule of thumb that players get 40% of their market value in the first year of eligibility, 60% in the second and 80% in the third, Chapman could earn another $45 million. The Reds would thus have paid him about $70 million.

    No worries for Reds fans: This won't happen, and if it does they'll manage to deal with having a perennial Cy Young candidate. Still, the risk:reward ratio seems slightly off. The Reds will have to choke on tens of millions of dollars worth of lost potential if Chapman never does anything. If he's good, they'll pay out lots.

    Take a somewhat more realistic scenario, in which Chapman comes up late this year or at the beginning of next year, and is a solid No. 3 starter, the sort of player you'd pay $10 million a year to secure as a free agent, through the rest of his contract. In that case the Reds would be paying something like $40 million for $60 million worth of performance. That would be a good deal but not a great one.

    Past the contract details, any longtime fan should be able to name a half-dozen pitchers with 100 mph fastballs and supposedly crisp sliders who never did a thing, few of whom were being asked to make a cultural adjustment like the one Chapman will have to make. And there are other concerns. Peter Bjarkman, author of a well-received history of Cuban baseball and an observer of the island's baseball scene, has questioned the player's work ethic and pitching intelligence and pointed out his sketchy history in international competition and in the Cuban league, where he walked 5.5 per nine innings. Take Bjarkman's opinion for what it is, but the rest is hard fact. Chapman is not a tested ace like Orlando Hernandez or Jose Contreras, and he's nowhere close.

    For all that, I love this deal. I love that the Reds are laying marks on real talent rather than squandering $5 million on Kyle Farnsworth or someone like him. I love that Reds fans are (rightly) so excited about this. I love that Chapman can finally start thinking about the best players in the world rather than worrying about money. Mostly I love that it was the Reds, rather than the Yankees or Angels, who signed him.

    I think baseball should abolish the first-year player draft. It's absurd on its face -- imagine Google getting its pick of top graduates from MIT, Stanford and Chicago because it held a top draft slot over Microsoft and IBM -- and it doesn't help teams in small or poor markets as much as is commonly supposed. People object because they think teams like the Reds would never be able to compete with the Red Sox and Mets for top talent. That they have the man with the 102 mph fastball, and that they were competing with teams like the Blue Jays and A's to get him, shows that isn't necessarily true.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...#ixzz0cixHKoto
    I think the writer is a bit off with his numbers, as he is adding the salary that the Reds agreed to pay him in his Arb years with what he would get in Arb. I would think that if that option does hit, the Reds would have to pay what he gets in Arb, instead of what they agreed to pay him, not in addition to Anyway, that means his numbers are around $5M off a scenario. That's actually a big deal in the second, since paying $35M for $60M of production is a much better deal than $40M for $60M.

    And if the first scenario comes true, it means the Reds will be getting around $150M of production for around $70M. Both ways, it's around paying 50 cents on the dollar, which always a great deal.
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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    That guy lost me at the end of that piece. Get rid of the MLB draft? Is he on crack? Yeah, that would solve a lot of problems. He was trying to make the point that small-market teams are at a disadvantage, but pretty much contradicts himself with the comment about getting rid of the draft. What a strange statement. Just because the Reds were able to out-bid the big boys for Chapman, that means we should get rid of the draft?

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Cuba Fans Views on Chapman’s Contract
    January 16, 2010 | Print This Post SEND THIS POST TO A FRIEND LIKED IT?

    HAVANA TIMES, Jan, 15 – Another Cuban baseball player has signed with a US Major League team and fans from Havana make no attempt to conceal their happiness.

    At the end of the afternoon in Havana’s downtown Central Park, we spoke with fanatics at the “Esquina Caliente” (hot corner) where baseball fans debate everything to do with the sport and its players.

    The topic of the day was 21-year-old Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman signing a US $30 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

    Yenier found out like almost everybody else. Some saw the news on banned foreign cable TV, others over the Internet, but most got it word-of-mouth from those better informed.

    Since Chapman abandoned Team Cuba in Holland last July, Yenier had been hoping that some team would pick him up. “It’s no surprise, the left-hander’s got a great arm, and he’s not the first Cuban to play with the Reds, there was also Osvaldo Fernandez.”

    To onlooker Abdiel, “The best thing this guy has going for him is his youth. He has the world in front of him. They’ll train him a lot so that he’s improves his control. I’m very happy that he’ll enjoy his $30 million… Now that’s some money!”

    For Machado, “This is a pitcher from the Cuban national team, that’s where he first demonstrated his quality. It was not by chance that he went to the World Cup. As for the $30 million, that’s a risk for them, because it’s a lot of money no matter how you look at it, but he deserves it. I only wish that everybody who wants to pursue a career like he could do it. They should let athletes play over here or over there, sports is only one. They have to make a living…right?”

    Rodolfito was aware of Chapman’s signing because “people are commenting about it. I hope he goes far, the same as I do for all Cubans. He’s 21, left-handed and throws a hundred miles an hour… what more could you ask for? Control is developed. They say he needs some more body mass, but they’ll take care of that now. I think he’ll measure up.”

    Angel: “If they’ll pay Aroldis $30 million, it’s because they know they’ll get that and much more out of him – twice as much, triple, I don’t know. Capitalists aren’t stupid, and they’re not throwing away their money. Chapman is a kid, they can mold him, polish him in what he lacks because he’s brimming with talent – and courage.

    “For him to stay in a country that he’s not familiar with, unable to speak English and not knowing heads or tails about the big leagues… several Cubans have found themselves in that group, but I’m sure he didn’t even know that.

    “To us it would be good if they eased up on all the super control over baseball players, who leave, who learn and are able to take care of things for their families. If they choose to play for Cuba [in international events], then let them play.”

    Julio is less sure that this is a good change for the pitcher “because if he doesn’t meet the grade, it will be very risky for him, he could lose his career as a pitcher.”

    Ebelio doesn’t like the fact that “we’re losing so many players, beyond whether they’re doing it ethically or not. They’re leaving for something, especialling the top ones, like Aroldis.”

    Most fans believe it’s a good opportunity for Chapman.

    Some say that if the politics toward these players were less rigid, perhaps much of the money could go to support Cuban sports, because everybody knows that Cubans hardly ever forget those they leave behind – their family, friends, or the field where they threw their first ball.

    Currently Havana’s Latin-American Stadium is in a sad state, with deteriorated lighting and with the scoreboard falling to pieces.

    What if one of these players wanted to donate a sum to save this landmark ball field?

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=18265

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Reds make shrewd move in signing Cuba's Chapman

    CHICAGO _ Some think the Cincinnati Reds just took the biggest risk in franchise history. I think they made the shrewdest acquisition of the offseason.

    Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman, signed away from the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and other suitors at a cost of $30 million, is a difference-maker, and there were darn few of those available on the 2010 free-agent market.

    Give general manager Walt Jocketty and the team's owner, Bob Castellini, tremendous credit for investing so heavily in a guy who would have been ranked 1A to Stephen Strasburg if he had stood alongside North American talent in last year's draft.

    One of baseball's most veteran scouts told me in March, immediately after the World Baseball Classic, that Chapman was the best pitching prospect he ever had seen. And Chapman had not been sharp for Cuba in Mexico City.

    Chapman has a triple-digit fastball, a power slider that whispers Steve Carlton and a verified passport that shows he turns 22 next month. He walked away from the Cuban team during a tournament in Europe last summer.

    Jocketty has made a strong career out of finding bargains, first as an assistant to Sandy Alderson with the Oakland A's in the Bash Brothers era and then with the St. Louis Cardinals, where his deals for Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan put a World Series ring on Albert Pujols' finger. He was able to do the Chapman deal because it required only $1 million in salary in 2010, the rest coming from a budget for amateur scouting and the payroll flexibility that will be created when Aaron Harang comes off the books next fall.

    Under Jocketty, the Reds already had made more progress than most realized. Their 27-13 mark after Aug. 22 was the best in the National League last season, and it was done while ace Edinson Volquez was out after Tommy John surgery.

    Jocketty said in November he felt the Reds were "close" to being able to contend against the Cardinals and Cubs (maybe also the Brewers) in the NL Central. It's not far-fetched to think Dusty Baker will make that happen in 2010.

    Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto were solid for 30-plus starts last season. Homer Bailey, who like Cueto is 23, stoked the imagination by going 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA in his last nine starts, a night-and-day reversal from previous form (6-12, 7.05 ERA in his first 28 starts). With Chapman, Volquez and 2009 first-rounder Michael Leake, a huge winner at Arizona State, the Reds may have the best stable of young pitchers in the majors.

    The Reds were 11th in the NL in scoring last season but hope to improve with Scott Rolen at third base. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce should be hitting their big-league strides and could get a huge lift from Chris Heisey, a high-energy player who could fill holes in left field and at the top of the order. The bullpen is already the best in the Central.

    This is a solid team, and Chapman proves its commitment to get better.

    http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/yb/140078147

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    I just finished watching a ten minute video on YouTube of Chapman pitching against Korea and Japan in 2007. I highly recommend watching it. His slider is filthy in that video. I don't think Korea or Japan could have hit his slider with an ironing board. Towards the seven minute mark he throws a couple of curveballs to a right handed batter, both of which were solid pitches. In addition to his filthy stuff, he also has a great pickoff move as evidenced in the video. If people wonder why the Reds are so excited about this guy then look no further than this video.

    I still remember last March when I was down in Florida for Spring Training. After watching a Reds game that night, we went to a Winghouse at about 10:30 and they had one of the TV's tuned in to the Cuba game. Chapman just happened to be pitching that game and I just remember sitting there in amazement at how great his stuff was and hoping that one day he would be able to pitch in the major leagues. Little did I know ten months later he would sign with the Reds! He still has some kinks to work out, but once he gets under the under the tutelage of Mario Soto and Bryan Price and others, and gets accustomed to the new lifestyle, he will only get better, IMO.

    Anyway, here's the video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3acJkwmRP0

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Has anyone read or got any type of indication that had Chapman been available in last years draft, where abouts he would of been drafted??

    I assume in the top 10 but would he likely of been drafted before Strasburg??
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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Has anyone read or got any type of indication that had Chapman been available in last years draft, where abouts he would of been drafted??

    I assume in the top 10 but would he likely of been drafted before Strasburg??
    In the top three.

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Has anyone read or got any type of indication that had Chapman been available in last years draft, where abouts he would of been drafted??

    I assume in the top 10 but would he likely of been drafted before Strasburg??
    The consensus seems to be #2 behind Strasburg, seemingly due to Strasburg having more polish about his stuff. Personally I think he's a potentially better prospect as he seems to have that fire in his belly that I'm not positive Strasburg has. It's what makes Cueto a better potential pitcher than Volquez, aggressiveness. They get right after ya.
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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Fast forward to the 9:20 mark in that video. Chapman threw a nasty changeup to fool the batter. Chris Buckley and others have said Chapman has a feel for a changeup, it's just a matter of him gaining consistency with the pitch. Hopefully Mario Soto can work his magic with Chapman like he has with others in the Reds organization.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SifGI...eature=related

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    You know watching the entire video now, I think I would have defected just so I wouldn't have to wear those orange pants again. Ouch.
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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Club takes 100 mph arm over quick fix
    By John Fay • jfay@enquirer.com • January 16, 2010

    It was about a year ago that Reds owner Bob Castellini famously or infamously guaranteed a winning season from the Reds.

    It didn't work out, of course.

    No good comes from guarantees, by the way, unless you're the guy who collects outtakes for WLW-AM (700).

    The Big Man might have learned a lesson last season. He's been quiet this offseason.

    When the Reds announced the signing of Cuban free-agent pitcher Aroldis Chapman Monday, Castellini wasn't even at the press conference.

    But that's OK. His signature on the fat check that went to Chapman said it all.

    The Chapman deal was a sign the Reds are finally more interested in the long-term future of the franchise than a quick fix.

    Committing $30 million over 10 years to a 21-year-old shows you've got the future in mind.

    Castellini hasn't ignored the foundation since taking over. The Reds have committed more money to signing Latin American players than ever before. Yorman Rodriguez was signed for $2.5 million and Juan Duran signed for $2 million in 2008. The Reds gave a $500,000 bonus to Juan Carlos Sulbaran, a 30th-round draft choice.

    But the Chapman signing was a clear case of ignoring the present for the future. To wit: The Reds are paying Chapman $4 million this year. That came out of money reserved for signing international players and amateur draft picks.

    But if the Reds shifted that money to payroll, it might have been enough to sign someone like Miguel Tejada. Tejada assuredly would make the Reds a few games better in 2010.

    But Chapman could make them a hundred games better over the length of his contract.

    "We felt we could have done something to help us for this year," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "But this is something that's going to help for years to come."

    Castellini is like fans. He wants to win now, right now. He's always operated that way.

    He was one of the forces behind the Scott Rolen trade. A lot of baseball experts and people in the Reds organization questioned that trade. But Castellini wanted it made. Why? Because he, like a lot of fans, was tired of watching Edwin Encarnacion not play up to his potential. He knew he could get Rolen, a guy who plays the game the right way.

    The Rolen deal has worked out pretty well so far. The team was 27-13 after he returned from the disabled list last year.

    Some of the quick fixes haven't worked out. Alex Gonzalez and Willy Taveras come to mind.

    Castellini was easily sold on Chapman.

    "He saw the reports from our scouts," Jocketty said. "He got excited. (Chapman) has a high ceiling. (Castellini) understood what kind of impact this guy could have."

    Will the Chapman deal work out? I have no earthly idea.

    People have been asking me about him since the news broke. I tell them it doesn't hurt that he throws 100 mph. A wise Red once said this about Homer Bailey: He throws 97. If he can get his other stuff over for strikes, it doesn't matter how good it is, they're not going to hit him.

    That Chapman throws harder than Bailey and is left-handed makes him a pretty safe bet - if his other stuff is over the plate. My guess is if Chapman stays healthy, the Reds will have themselves a bargain - even at $30 million.

    Put him in a rotation with Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey and you have four young, power arms.

    Chapman is headed to Arizona next week to work with pitching coach Bryan Price. If Price can work out the kinks, the long-term investment could pay dividends pretty quickly.

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/2...over+quick+fix

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    Re: Jeff Passan: Reds sign Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman to six-year deal (Financials T

    Am I the only one who just realized he may be arbitration-elgible rather than simply a 6yr/30 M deal? Granted, that would mean he's pitching good, but I was bummed to see that after thinking it was 30 M flat.
    Last edited by kaldaniels; 01-17-2010 at 04:23 PM.


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