In a 2010 story in The Washington Post, after hard-throwing lefty Aroldis Chapman signed a 6-year/.$30.25M free agent deal with the Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talked openly about the Nats' dogged pursuit of the pitcher.
"We had the second-highest offer on the table,'" Rizzo said at the time, as quoted by the Washington Post's Chico Harlan. "'He paused and added, 'We thought it was first.'"
"We had a private workout with him," former team president Stan Kasten told the WaPost reporter. "'[General manager] Mike [Rizzo] liked him as much as any young left-hander he's ever seen.'"
Rizzo also went into detail about what he saw in Chapman and why he thought the investment they were willing to make at the time was worth it:
"All the accolades and the velocities you've heard about are true,'" Rizzo said. "'We see a huge upsided pitcher. There's some risk involved, of course, but this was a chance to get a front-of-the-rotation pitcher with an unlimited ceiling. And as you know, No. 1 starters are very difficult to find. Either you develop them ourselves or you pay dearly for them in free agency. The Lerners and Stan were very supportive of our front office staff. We did our due diligence, and the Lerners allowed us to make a very, very, very attractive offer to him."
In six major league seasons with the Reds, Chapman, who, of course, ended up in Cincinnati's bullpen, has saved 125 games, while posting a 2.31 ERA, a 2.01 FIP, 139 walks (4.47 BB/9) and 475 Ks (15.27 K/9) in 280 IP.
According to a report tonight, the Nats' GM might still be enamored with the now-27-year-old Chapman, who avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 1-year/$8.05M deal and is under team control through 2016.
FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi reported earlier today that the Nationals were in the market for both left and right-handed relief help, and he wrote on Twitter tonight that the Nats have talked to the Reds about Chapman:
Add: My understanding is trade talks between Nats and Reds have been very preliminary in nature, with Nats expressing interest in Aroldis.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 12, 2015