By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 25 – Pitcher Aroldis Chapman, 21, is slated to be the next Cuban multi-millionaire after he abandoned his national team to make a go in the US Major Leagues.
While on route to the USA, Chapman currently has provisional residency in Andorra, a small landlocked country within northern Spain. He has been declared a free agent to sell his arm to the highest bidder.
“It has been a dream of mine to pitch in the major leagues,” said Chapman in a written statement issued by his agent Edwin Mejia, reported AP.
The lefty with a 100 mph fastball, and occasional bouts with control problems, played on the eastern Holguin team in the Cuban league. He could easily receive an eight-digit figure for signing.
Cuba, like the rest of the Latin American countries is subject to losing a percentage of its top players and prospects, recruited by agents. On the island, the players live a notch above the average citizen but by no means have the life of luxury they could have if they get signed to MLB.
Chapman was Cuba’s top left-hander at the World Baseball Classic II in March, and the top righty of this year’s Cuban baseball league, Yuniesky Maya, has also left the island looking for greener pastures. One of the league’s top utility players, Leslie Anderson, has also recently abandoned the country.
Meanwhile, Cuba, with its seemingly never ending production of first rate ball players, is 12-2 overall at the 2009 World Cup Baseball Tournament taking place in Europe. The only team with a better record is the USA at 13-1. The two rivals meet in Italy for the title on Sunday starting at 9:00 a.m. Cuban time (EST).