Last month Aroldis Chapman’s hotel room in Pittsburgh was robbed and police found a woman inside tied up.
Claudia Manrique initially claimed that a man entered the room posing as a maintenance worker, but under questioning her story repeatedly changed. She eventually admitted to first meeting the man at a local convenience store, telling police that he stole her wallet and demanded to know the room number where she and Chapman were staying.
There was also a bag containing $200,000 in Chapman’s jewelry, yet somehow that wasn’t stolen and Manrique failed to explain to police how that happened or why the robber knew about the pitcher’s involvement in the first place.
The story is as weird now as it was then, but in the meantime Manrique has been charged with falsifying a police report. One thing we do know: She was in the hotel room because, as Chapman later admitted, Manrique met him in April and frequently stayed with him in different cities during Reds road trips. Everything else? Who knows.
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.