Should The Washington Nationals Try To Sign Aroldis Chapman?

Will The Nationals Pursue The "Left-Handed Strasburg"?

Aroldis Chapman, the 21-year-old left-handed Cuban-born pitcher who defected from the Cuban national team last July, today petitioned Major League Baseball for free agent status after having established residency in the country of Andorra, which is described (in case you're not familiar) by ESPN.com's Jose Arangue Jr. in an article entitled, "Pitcher Chapman awaits MLB's ruling" as a, "...small country of about 84,000 that borders Spain and France." The key to Chapman's ability to move this process along was the fact that he was actually able to bring his passport along when he defected, which, when combined with the fact that Chapman claimed in the original article on his defection by ESPN.com's Jose Arangue Jr. entitled, "Top Cuban prospect defects", that he just, "...walked out easily. Right through the hotel door...it was easy," makes one wonder if Chapman wasn't "allowed" to leave the team, especially considering that Mr. Arangue originally wrote in that July article, that Chapman might, "...have some complications in establishing residency," outside of Cuba since he had probably, "...surrendered his passport to Cuban officials after arriving in Europe -- all Cuban players routinely do so, prior to any appearance outside of Cuba." Apparently it was either a tremendous oversight by the Cuban officials to let Chapman keep his own passport, or someone behind the scenes wanted to see Mr. Chapman pitching in MLB...?


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...Considering the way Chapman's been talked about for a few years now, the former is not likely. Mr. Arangue Jr. quoted an anonymous "international scouting director" in the July '09 article who said that, "...the magnitude of the defection" was "shocking", and Mr. Arangue's colleague at ESPN, Buster Olney was quoted in the article stating that "some evaluators" were already describing the wiry left-hander, whose fastball had been clocked at around 102mph, "as a left-handed Stephen Strasburg." In Monday's article, Mr. Arangue wrote that, "...the Yankees have already shown interest," and the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers, "...will at least show initial interest," in signing the pitcher...Why wouldn't the Nationals make a run at another potential top-end starter? Can the Nationals bid with the big clubs?

Further Reading:

• "Aroldis Chapman, Stephen Strasburg And The Trouble That Lies Ahead For The Washington Nationals..." - Federal Baseball - Ed Chigliak

"I was looking around for the latest information on Stephen Strasburg's negotiations with the Washington Nationals when I came across two very interesting articles, one by MLB Trade Rumors.com's Ben Nicholson-Smith entitled, 'Aroldis Chapman's Value', which deals, in part, with the effect the Cuban defectee's signing might have on Strasburg's contract with the Washington Nationals, and another by Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin entitled, 'Boras May Explore Japan for Strasburg', which details rumors of Mr. Boras' 'unique' approach to securing a deal for the former SDSU Aztec starter. "

• Dukes And Desmond in the DWL...

I followed the Dominican Winter League's Tigres Del Licey last winter mainly because I was interested in what Anderson Hernandez, who was then penciled in as the Nationals' second-baseman of the future, would do before he headed back to the Majors and Washington, D.C. to begin his first full season at second in the nation's capital. I'll be watching a lot closer this time around as it's now been announced that both Elijah Dukes and Ian Desmond will be on the Tigres' roster when play begins in the DWL. Dukes participation was first reported by MASNSports.com's Pete McElroy in a September 6, 2009 article entitled, "Dukes will play winter ball; Wilkie in AFL", and yesterday, MLB.com's Bill Ladson wrote in a blog post entitled, "Tidbits from Citi Field", that Ian Desmond, who's impressed everyone over the first few weeks of his big league career since his September call-up, will be a member of the Tigres as well. Add to that the fact that Ronnie Belliard has been a mainstay on the Licey roster for years, along with A-Hands, and it should make for some interesting viewing/following once the MLB season ends...

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