aroldis chapman

Aroldis Chapman sued for $18 million for … working with the Cuban State Security apparatus?!

61 Comments

Arolids Chapman defected from Cuba, presumably seeking freedom and fortune in the United States.  Someone, however, is suing Chapman, alleging that when he was back in Cuba, he worked with the Cuban State Security apparatus and helped organize the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of a Cuban-American by the name of Danilo Curbelo García.

This report comes from a pair of Miami-based Spanish language papers (here and here) that our friend Nick Collias of MLB Trade Rumors read and translated for us.  Obviously it’s impossible to know the truth behind any of this now, but here is the essence of the lawsuit — filed in U.S. Court pursuant to the Alien Tort Claims Act — which seeks $18 million:

“Chapman conspired with unidentified agents from the repressive State Security and with the Cuban government to violate the established law of nations, and provoke the arbitrary and prolonged detention and torture of the plaintiff [Curbelo Garcia].”  …

Here’s Curbelo Garcia’s wife, Maylén Turruellas Méndez, quoted in the latter report, describing events which allegedly occurred:

“My husband only praised him as an athlete and told him that in the US he could earn millions,” Turruelas explained. “Days later, the police showed up at his parents’ house and told him that he was under investigation. Later, they arrested him. To this day, I’m convinced that Chapman was working with State Security. It’s known that he had a meeting with Raul Castro. My husband isn’t the only one imprisoned because of Chapman. He was the principal witness in the case, and his statement was full of lies. That’s the only way they’d let him return to the Cuban team.”

The family’s lawyer Avelino Gonzalez told Ebro that both Chapman and his father testified in Cuba against Curbelo Garcia, leading to his arrest for “attempted human trafficking.”

The implication is that after Chapman’s original defection attempt, which failed, he informed on Garcia in order to get back on the Cuban national team.

These are obviously explosive allegations.  I’m sure that Chapman, his agent and his attorneys will have something to say about it soon.  In the meantime, stay tuned.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:

Rays and Braves reportedly interested in Welington Castillo

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits an RBI double in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.

The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.

Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.