MLB declares Cuban defector Chapman a free agent

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In a move that was widely expected to come either this month or in early October, Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman was declared a free agent on Friday.
Chapman made it through the red tape in record time, in large part because he managed to escape Cuba with his passport. The 21-year-old defected in July while taking part in the tournament held in the Netherlands and established residency in Andorra earlier this month.
Known for a fastball that has reportedly reached as high as 102 mph, Chapman has a chance to set a new record for a contract given to a Cuban defector, surpassing the four-year, $32 million deal Jose Contreras received from the Yankees after the 2002 season. He lacks polish and may require time in the minors before helping a contending team, but his youth and huge arm will land him a big deal. Expect usual suspects like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Dodgers to express interest in the left-hander.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.