A report from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggests that the Nationals have expressed interest in free agent closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman profiles as one of the top bullpen arms on the market alongside right-handed closer Kenley Jansen, and his list of known suitors includes the Giants, Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs.
Chapman drew interest from the Nationals at the 2016 trade deadline, but the Cubs gained an edge in negotiations after offering a package of prospects that included top talent Gleyber Torres. Over the final two months of the season, Chapman turned in a 1.01 ERA and 0.82 FIP in 26 2/3 innings with Chicago, decorating his efforts with 16 saves and a blown win in Game 7 of the Cubs’ World Series run.
While Chapman expressed his affection for the Yankees earlier this month, telling New York Sports Day’s Ray Negron that he’d “love to be a Yankee again,” competition for his services is expected to be fierce. He was previously reported to be seeking a contract in the five-year, $100 million range, which would be unprecedented for a major league closer.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Blue Jays have signed Steve Pearce to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million.
Pearce, 33 had some health issues in 2016, but he hit .288/.374/.492 across 302 plate appearances when he was on the field and he mashes lefties in particular. Pearce is versatile as well, logging time at first base, second base, right field, left field, and DH in 2016 while splitting time between the Rays and Orioles.
Last week Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was arrested in South Korea for driving under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident. That’s bad, but it turns out that it’s nothing new. The Yonhapnews Agency reports that Kang has been arrested for DUI three times since 2009:
Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul confirmed that it was Kang’s third DUI arrest, with the three strikes law resulting in the immediate revocation of his license. According to police, Kang had also been arrested for a DUI in August 2009 and May 2011. No personal injuries were reported in either case, though he’d caused property damage in the latter incident.
The report also notes that a companion of Kang initially claimed that he, and not Kang, was behind the wheel at the time of the accident which led to Kang’s arrest last week. It was later revealed by the car’s black box, however, that Kang was driving. So add in some obstruction of justice, whether it is charged or not, to the scene. Police are investigating that.
Between all of this and the fact that Kang is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault in Chicago this past season, a pretty ugly portrait of the Pirates’ infielder is beginning to reveal itself.