Jeff Passan at Yahoo is confirming that the Reds have signed Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman to a deal that is reportedly worth $30 million over 5 years. No word yet as to the breakout of the money, but I would venture to guess that it will be back-loaded, especially with both Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo's money possibly coming off of the books after this season and Francisco Cordero's contract being done after 2012.
Chapman is a 22-year old left-handed flame thrower who burst onto the international scene in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. When he defected to the U.S. this past year, he quickly became one of the most sought after pitching prospects this side of Stephen Strasburg. Chapman's fastball sits in the mid-90s and has been known to touch 100 MPH on occasion. He's got a decent slider, but he doesn't have enough control over any of his pitches right now to expect that he'll be a factor with the big league squad in 2010. This is definitely a long term deal from the Reds perspective.
Now as Reds fans, I think we have a natural inclination to think what is wrong about this deal. Yes, $30 million is a lot of money, but spent over 5 years, this deal shouldn't complete debilitate the budget. In fact, I would guess that if either Harang or Arroyo gives the Reds reason to be held on to for 2011, they should still have room in their budget to keep one of those guys depending on how Chapman's contract is structured. Yes, there are no guarantees with pitching prospects, but Chapman might be the best pitching prospect the Reds have signed in, well, ever. That doesn't mean that he'll turn into an ace, but at least they are spending on upside for once. This is a far cry from giving a large chunk of money to a player who never had the potential to be worth that money in the first place.
So, today, enjoy it. The Reds - your Cincinnati Reds - have actually signed a highly desirable player. These kinds of days don't happen a lot in Cincinnati.