Aroldis Chapman will make his U.S. professional debut with Triple-A Louisville on Sunday, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. His first start will be on the road against the Toledo Mudhens, though he’ll undoubtedly be quite the gate attraction no matter where he pitches.
Chapman made his unofficial debut with the Reds during spring training, compiling a a 1.69 ERA and a 15/7 K/BB ratio over 10 2/3 innings. He was running neck and neck with Travis Wood and 2009 first-round pick Mike Leake for the fifth starter gig until he experienced muscle spasms in his lower back towards the end of the exhibition schedule.
The back issue was probably a blessing in disguise, anyway, as the Reds stand to save millions in the long run if they keep Chapman in the minors through Memorial Day. They’ll probably need the extra cash to pay Leake, since they have already decided to start his arbitration clock.
The Twins are reportedly interested in signing free agent first baseman Logan Morrison, according to a report from Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The two sides don’t appear to be working toward anything concrete at the moment, but Berardino adds that newly-signed pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been having conversations with the slugger to gauge his interest in a potential deal.
Morrison, 30, enjoyed a tremendous season with the Rays in 2017. He finished his two-year circuit with the team after slashing .246/.353/.516 with a career-best 38 home runs, .363 wOBA and 3.3 fWAR in 601 plate appearances. It was just the second time he’d managed to produce more than 20 home runs in a single season, and he finished the year tied for fifth-most dingers in the AL and eighth-most in the league.
The free agent slugger has been linked to a plethora of interested parties this offseason, including the Red Sox, Royals, Indians, Angels and Mets, but hasn’t drawn any substantial offers in an admittedly slow market. Should he reach an agreement with the Twins, Berardino notes that the club could use him to back up both Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano in a dual first base/DH role.