Aroldis Chapman defected from Cuba and he's now free to sign with the highest bidder. So how much will teams offer the player many scouts consider the best left-handed pitching prospect in the world? ESPN.com's Jorge Arangure Jr. gathered some estimates and hears that the 21-year-old could sign a deal worth between $30-60MM.
When Jose Contreras defected from Cuba, the Yankees signed him for $32MM and Chapman's agent claims his client is the best player to defect since Contreras. But his agent isn't the only one singing Chapman's praises; one scouting director called the magnitude of the news "shocking."
Chapman, who also goes by the first name Albertin, can throw 100mph, but his secondary pitches need development and he's considered raw. Some question his maturity, but those who watched him in the WBC say there's no question that Chapman has charisma.
Arangure Jr. reminds us that we could be months away from a bidding war. Once we get there, the Yankees will have interest. Is he comparable to Stephen Strasburg? Most definitely. Kiley McDaniel says he's not quite as polished but represents a great example of what Strasburg would get as a free agent.
Baseball America's John Manuel says Daisuke Matsuzaka and Contreras are fair points of reference for Chapman. The Cuban lefty is younger than either of those two were when they came to the majors, and he throws harder. Manuel talked to a scout who says "you'll be searching your whole life" if you're looking for more in a pitcher.
So when will it all start? Chapman has to establish residency in another country, but his agent says he'll be ready by Spring Training, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown.