The most highly coveted closer on the market, Aroldis Chapman presents an interesting dilemma for his prospective buyers.
On one hand, Chapman is one of the most dominant hurlers in all of baseball. Since making his Major League debut with the Reds in 2010, Chapman’s 15.2 K/9 is the highest mark of any pitcher to throw more than 52 innings. He consistently hits triple digits with his fastball and showed a willingness to throw multiple innings at a time this past postseason.
The reliable production will come at a hefty price. Chapman is seeking a deal upwards of $100 million this offseason, a number that would shatter the record for the highest paid reliever in MLB history. Couple that with the Cuban native’s history with domestic violence issues, and there are plenty of reasons to steer clear.
The Nationals have shown the willingness to pay relievers in the past. They signed former closer Rafael Soriano to a $28 million deal over two years prior to the 2013 season and paid Jonathan Papelbon $11 million last season alone. Adding the left-handed Chapman to the mix of right-handed relievers would help balance out the team’s bullpen.
Chapman is clearly the class of this year’s group of free agent relievers, but is he worth the price?