By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Jan. 10 — Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman is reportedly hours away from signing a $30 million dollar contract with the Cincinnati Reds in the US Major Leagues. In a report just published by Sports Illustrated online the lefthander is set to pen a five-year deal.
The Los Angeles Angels as well as the Toronto Blue Jays had been pegged as the leading contenders to obtain the 22-year-old free agent who abandoned team Cuba in Holland six months ago to seek the big bucks in the USA.
Chapman has been clocked with a 102 mph fastball and played in the Cuban league with Holguin where he had 24-21 record and a 3.72 ERA over four seasons. He struck out more than one batter per inning (379 in 342). However, he also has bouts of control problems walking 210 batters.
Earlier in the week another Cuban baseball prospect, pitcher Noel Arguelles was signed to a $7 million contract with the Kansas City Royals.
Professional sports are not practiced in Cuba. Top amateur athletes from the island are constantly being offered the opportunity to leave their country for the US and Europe.
Considered traitors by the government, the players that decide to accept offers become non-persons in the Cuban press, and are totally ignored for the rest of their careers.