The Reds officially signed free agent lefty Aroldis Chapman to a six-year deal worth $30.25MM today. Said GM Walt Jocketty: "We have to make some bold moves from time to time." The Reds got involved just before Christmas, and Jocketty said he was happy to stay under the radar. Chapman's payments will be spread out over ten years, and Jocketty noted that the contract will not significantly impact the Reds' 2010 payroll. The Reds' GM wouldn't predict when Chapman would join the Major League rotation, but wouldn't rule out the possibility of him breaking camp with the team.
Chapman, 21, defected from the Cuban national team in July and established residency in the small European nation of Andorra in September. An agency called Athletes Premier International represented Chapman along his path toward big league free agency, but he switched to the Hendricks brothers in November. Armed with a mid-90s fastball and a plus slider, Chapman generated widespread interest. The Red Sox, Marlins, Nationals, and Blue Jays reportedly made strong offers, and ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Athletics finished second. The early notion that Chapman's price tag would limit bidding to large-market clubs proved false.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.