Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Whether Our Washington Nationals eventually sign Aroldis Chapman or not, there was a good sign yesterday when Mike Rizzo personally showed up for a showcase workout set up by his agents in Houston. The hard throwing Cuban Defector is a southpaw and just as hyped as Stephen Strasburg was coming out of San Diego State University. If Washington is going to be taken seriously in any negotiation for the 21-year-old, sending one of their area scouts or regional crosscheckers wouldn't be enough in a case like this one. Being present at these type of tryouts is important, dispatching your top guy sends a message Washington is serious. It is also critical for Washington to get their own eyes on Aroldis, not just believe all the hype of others.
Reports say Chapman topped out at 96MPH on his fast and was consistently throwing 92-93 MPH. Last year at The World Baseball Classic, Aroldis was clocked by scouts at 102 MPH. Can you imagine if one righty and one lefty eventually took the mound for Our Washington Nationals and each could throw 100 MPH at times during their starts? Talent like that doesn't come along too often.
Some bids for the free agent's services are said to be north of $15 Million, but money might not be the overall issue in getting Chapman's signature on a contract. Aroldis is now represented by The Hendricks' Brothers, who are being sued by The Cuban Defector's former agent--Edwin Mejia. Mr. Mejia claims The Hendricks have illegally taken his client away. The last time D.C.'s Team dealt with The Hendricks Brothers, Aaron Crow was Washington's Number One choice in the 2008 Entry Draft. And we all know how that turned out--Crow walked away--leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of Our Washington Nationals Front Office Staff--and fans too.
That badly ended negotiation with The Hendricks in 2008 is another good reason for Mike Rizzo to be on hand in Houston yesterday for Aroldis Chapman's workout. The past doesn't matter anymore, only the present. Our GM stating it's a whole new ballgame just by being physically present.
Champman Photo Credit--Donald Miralle (Getty Images)