Aroldis Chapman is a free agent - will soon be signed by US baseball team
Posted: 27 September 2009 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
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By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com

Aroldis Chapman is officially on the market.

According to a release by Chapman’s representatives at Athletes Premier International, Major League Baseball has declared Chapman a free agent following its investigation.  The United States Department of the Treasury has also licensed him as an unblocked national of Cuba, the release said.

“This is a great reward for nearly three months of hard work, but our real objective is helping Aroldis achieve his personal and professional goals,” said Edwin Mejia, CEO of Athletes Premier International.  “We look forward to speaking with Major League teams and other potential partners interested in helping Aroldis attain them.”

Chapman is now free to sign a contract with a Major League club interested in him.

“I wish to thank Edwin and the rest of the API team for helping me get to this point,” Chapman said in the release. “It has been a dream of mine to pitch in the Major Leagues and I’m very excited to start the next phase of my life.”

Chapman, who recently established residency in Andorra, went 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two games for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings. His fastball was clocked between 97 and 100 mph.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound pitcher is expected to draw the attention of big-market clubs, such as the Yankees and Red Sox, perhaps commanding more than the $32 million signing bonus the Yankees paid Cuban defector Jose Contreras in 2002.

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Posted: 27 September 2009 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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...and from Havana Times:

Pitcher Aroldis Chapman, 21, is slated to be the next Cuban multi-millionaire after he abandoned his national team to make a go in the US Major Leagues.

While on route to the USA, Chapman currently has provisional residency in Andorra, a small landlocked country within northern Spain.  He has been declared a free agent to sell his arm to the highest bidder.

“It has been a dream of mine to pitch in the major leagues,” said Chapman in a written statement issued by his agent Edwin Mejia, reported AP.

The lefty with a 100 mph fastball, and occasional bouts with control problems, played on the eastern Holguin team in the Cuban league.  He could easily receive an eight-digit figure for signing.

Cuba, like the rest of the Latin American countries is subject to losing a percentage of its top players and prospects, recruited by agents.  On the island, the players live a notch above the average citizen but by no means have the life of luxury they could have if they get signed to MLB.

Chapman was Cuba’s top left-hander at the World Baseball Classic II in March, and the top righty of this year’s Cuban baseball league, Yuniesky Maya, has also left the island looking for greener pastures.  One of the league’s top utility players, Leslie Anderson, has also recently abandoned the country.

Meanwhile, Cuba, with its seemingly never ending production of first rate ball players, is 12-2 overall at the 2009 World Cup Baseball Tournament taking place in Europe.  The only team with a better record is the USA at 13-1.  The two rivals meet in Italy for the title on Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. Cuban time (EST).

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