Aroldis Chapman and Stephen Strasburg were often mentioned in the same breath this spring, but it’s become pretty clear that the Cuban left-hander isn’t anywhere near as polished as last year’s No 1 pick.
Chapman was hammered for a career-high eight runs over just 3 1/3 innings in an outing for Triple-A Louisville on Friday night, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. He has a 9.64 ERA over three starts this month after posting a 1.29 ERA over his first four professional starts in April.
Chapman is lighting up the radar gun with regularity — averaging 10.5 K/9 along the way — but he simply doesn’t have a great idea of the strike zone yet. He has walked at least four batters in three out of his seven starts and has issued 21 free passes in just 35 innings, good enough for an average of 5.4 BB/9. He remains an impressive raw talent, but he’ll have to overcome his command issues before the Reds even think of bringing him to the major leagues.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.