The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed long-time former rival, left-handed relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman to a one-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed veteran left-handed relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman to a one-year deal valued at $10.5 million. Chapman is coming off a nice rebound season with the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. Chapman figures to slot in the bullpen in a set-up role alongside young right-handers Colin Holderman and Carmen Mlodzinski.
The Pirates are more than familiar with Chapman, as the Cuban Missile spent the first six sesons of his MLB career with the division rival Cincinnati Reds where he established himself not only as one of the most formindable closing pitchers in the game, but also one of the hardest throwing pitchers of all time. Chapman topped out at 106 MPH in 2011, which is the hardes thrown pitch ever recorded. Ironically, it was against the Piraets with Andrew McCutchen at the plate.
Chapman's start to the 2020s was rough, as he only had a 3.71 ERA, 4.07 FIP, and 1.30 WHIP in 2020-2022. The flamethrowing left-handed took a one-year deal with the KC Royals last winter, and rebounded nicely, pitching to a 2.45 ERA, 1.69 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP in his first 29.1 innings of the season. Chapman didn't allow a single home run and had a K% of 43.4%, but he also walked 16.4% of the batters he faced. He was then traded to the Texas Rangers, but saw his ERA inflate to 3.72 while his FIP rose to 3.36. He gave up four home runs in 29 innings, but cut his BB% to 12.6% while keeping an outstanding 39.3% K-rate.
Chapman had a rough September, but rebounded and pitched well in the Rangers' World Series run. He pitched eight innings in the Postseason, only allowing two earned runs, striking out six, and only allowing one home run. He did walk four, but all the walks he allowed were in the ALDS. He didn't allow a walk in the Wild Card, ALCS, or World Series.
It definitley came out of left field for the Pittsburgh Pirates to sign Aroldis Chapman.
The Pirates haven't been connected to him, or any relief pitcher (unless you count Yariel Rodriguez as an RP) all off-season. Chapman adds to an already strong bullpen. He'll likely assist Holderman and Mlodzinski in setting up games for closing pitcher David Bednar.