Washington Nationals: Why Not Aroldis Chapman?

• Line of the Day: 

In a chat yesterday published by Boston.com's Steve Silva entitled, "Thursday's Red Sox Q&A with Peter Gammons", Peter Gammons, the respected MLB writer, predicts that free agent Cuban defectee lefty Aroldis Chapman will eventually sign with the Los Angeles Angels with Chapman's connection to LA's first baseman and fellow Cuban Kendry Morales mentioned as the reason he'll decide on the Halos. Mr. Gammons also says that some major league teams have questions about the 21-year-old pitcher's personality:

"...a lot of teams are worried not about raw ability but emotional stability at times, he's been called the Cuban John Rocker, might be good, might be bad."

Red Sox Take Rizzo Approach?

The "Cuban John Rocker"? Mr. Gammon's comments come after ESPNBoston.com writer Gordon Edes' article yesterday entitled, "Another stealth pursuit for Red Sox", cautioned that the teams who have been rumored to be pulling ahead in the pursuit of the free agent left-hander had better not count the big spenders out just yet:

"While reports have pegged the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays as favorites to sign the 22-year-old pitcher, the Red Sox remain very much in the picture, with one major-league executive predicting that either the Sox or Yankees will sign him."

The Red Sox, of course, have reportedly had a $15.5 million dollar offer on the table for some time now, but reports this week have the price approaching $21 million.

• Angelos Out...

Baltimore Sun writer Peter Schmuck wrote Thursday, in an article entitled, "Orioles appear out of Chapman derby", that Baltimore Orioles' team officials see Chapman's decision to hire "high-powered agents" Alan and Randy Hendricks, "...in the middle of the process," of finding a major league suitor as evidence that the 21-year-old left-hander's decision, "...is going to come down to how big a contract he can squeeze out of a big-market team," while the Orioles, "...were probably hoping he held them in some extra esteem for coming to Cuba during his youth." The Orioles March 1999 visit to Cuba was the first by a major league team since 1959 when the Los Angeles Dodgers visited the island nation, but the "baseball diplomacy" apparently didn't leave as much of an impression on the then-ten-year-old Chapman as Baltimore had hoped.

• Oh, And Those Reports Yesterday About The Angels Leading The Chapman Derby?

Yahoo!Sports.com's Tim Brown sent out a Twitter message yesterday that countered Wednesday's reports, cited above, which named the Angels and Blue Jays as the front-runners in the pursuit of the hard-throwing lefty, with Mr. Brown writing:

"Angels source on Chapman: "Despite what you read, we're not in that deep."

However, Los Angeles Times' writer Mike DiGiovanni makes clear, in an article late Thursday afternoon entitled, "Angels remain in hunt for Aroldis Chapman", that in spite of rumors to the contrary, "The Angels continue to pursue the Cuban defector..." So...

The Red Sox, Yankees, Angels and Blue Jays are still in on Chapman, the Orioles are out. The Washington Nationals? Is it another example of DC GM Mike Rizzo's leak-free approach to negotiating with the Nationals' targets? Anyone? Is Rizzo taking the same "stealth" approach to pursuing Chapman as the Red Sox? Or have the Nationals decided not to pursue the left-hander?

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