By Eric Reynoso (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — After resolving personal tribulations that led to a police report last October, the supersonic left-handed Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman managed Friday to close a one-year contract with the New York Yankees for $11.3 million.
With this agreement, Chapman avoided arbitration and will earn $3.2 million more than he accrued last season with the Cincinnati Reds, when he pocketed $8,075,000 US dollars.
However, the agreed upon figure fell below the 13.1 million that the ballplayer had sought from the New York franchise. The Yankees had originally offered $9 million.
Since November, Chapman is represented by Magnus Sports, a subsidiary of Magnus Media, the company of famous singer Marc Anthony.
An advantageous arrangement
After the 2016 season, Chapman can negotiate a multiyear deal, the salary amount will depend on what the Holguin southpaw can bring to the team from the Big Apple.
The outcome was positive for the pitcher considering that his value fell sharply after reports of domestic violence during an incident at his mansion in Davie, in South Florida, reported on October 30th.
According to the police report, Chapman would have tried to strangle his girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, 22, during a family reunion. Then he took a gun and shot eight times against a garage wall.
Broward prosecutors eventually decided not to file charges against Chapman considering the inconsistencies in the complaints and the lack of evidence in the case.
But MLB keeps the matter under scrutiny in line with its policy of zero tolerance in cases of domestic abuse and the possibility remains open that Chapman receive a disciplinary action or penalty in the near future.
In November 2014, Chapman had already settled another outstanding case after reaching a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed, deriving from a lawsuit against him for $18 million. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Miami by relatives of people who claim to be victims of imprisonment and torture in Cuba, due to accusations from Chapman and his father.
Making history as a relief pitcher
Chapman, who turns 28 on Feb. 28, is now one of the most dominant relievers in the majors. Last season he had record of 4-4 with 33 saves and a 1.63 ERA for the Reds, which had a poor year. His average 15.74 strikeouts per nine innings is the best among all Major League relievers. He struck out 116 batters, second among relievers.
The pitcher deserted the Cuban team in the Netherlands in 2009. During the six seasons with the Reds (2010-15), he compiled a 19-20 record with 146 saves and a 2.17 lifetime ERA.
But he has already written his name in the history of Major League relievers. He is the only pitcher with four consecutive seasons (2012-2015) compiling at least 30 saves and 100 strikeouts. In each of those years he was selected to the National League All-Star team.
Last season he made the 62 fastest pitches among all major league pitchers, which ranged between 102.36 and 103.92 mph. In 2011 he recorded a throw of 106 mph in a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, ranked among the fastest deliveries in the history of professional baseball in the United States.