Chapman will only cost the Reds $1 million in 2010

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Everyone was reporting yesterday that the Reds got Chapman for $30 million yesterday, but it’s apparently a bit more nuanced than that. According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it’s a $25 million deal that locks him up for over five years with a player option for a sixth, which would bump the total to $30 million.

But here’s the kicker: the payments are spread out over ten years, with his salary for 2010 being a mere $1 million. Fay says that “the first year it will be a major burden on the big league budget is 2014.”

I suppose there are two ways to look at this. Given their presumed financial constraints, it’s probably a good thing that they’re delaying the pain of this contract, such as it is, until guys like Aaaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo are off the payroll.  On the other hand, if Chapman does turn out to be a bust, it will be a total bummer when he exercises that option and the team still has to write checks to his ineffective butt circa 2014.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Chapman, how about these apples: according to Buster, the Athletics came in second to Cincy in the bidding.  How about that? The lowly Reds and A’s, each willing to go north of $25 million on an amateur free agent with the Yankees and Red Sox nowhere in sight. And all this time I’ve been believing people who told me that that the big teams would crush the little teams if you got rid of the draft.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.