Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com hears from “one plugged-in agent” that Aroldis Chapman is seeking a $100 million contract.
For what it’s worth, the record for a reliever free agent contract was Jonathan Papelbon‘s four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies in 2011. I appreciate that we just came off of a playoff season when big time relievers made a big difference, but as Chapman’s and Andrew Miller‘s obvious exhaustion in Game 7 of the World Series showed, you can only ride a closer so hard. You’re never going to tick one back up to Goose Gossage-level relief ace usage. Certainly not one that throws 102 m.p.h. anyway. Chapman is elite, but quantity matters when it comes to giving money to free agents, not just quality.
It’s also worth noting that Chapman is not the only game in town. Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon are two other top-flight closers available as well. And that’s before you get to the fact that the Cubs’ front office has made comments suggesting that they may not be too hung up on bringing back Chapman anyway, taking one deep-pocketed bidder out of the mix.
It’s understandable that Chapman thinks highly enough of himself to be worthy of a paradigm-breaking contract. But $100 million certainly doesn’t seem realistic.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.