Everyone was reporting yesterday that the Reds got Chapman for $30 million yesterday, but it’s apparently a bit more nuanced than that. According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it’s a $25 million deal that locks him up for over five years with a player option for a sixth, which would bump the total to $30 million.
But here’s the kicker: the payments are spread out over ten years, with his salary for 2010 being a mere $1 million. Fay says that “the first year it will be a major burden on the big league budget is 2014.”
I suppose there are two ways to look at this. Given their presumed financial constraints, it’s probably a good thing that they’re delaying the pain of this contract, such as it is, until guys like Aaaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are off the payroll. On the other hand, if Chapman does turn out to be a bust, it will be a total bummer when he exercises that option and the team still has to write checks to his ineffective butt circa 2014.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Chapman, how about these apples: according to Buster, the Athletics came in second to Cincy in the bidding. How about that? The lowly Reds and A’s, each willing to go north of $25 million on an amateur free agent with the Yankees and Red Sox nowhere in sight. And all this time I’ve been believing people who told me that that the big teams would crush the little teams if you got rid of the draft.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.