MLB Teams Eye Cuban Pitching Phenom

Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban defector considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in the world, petitioned Major League Baseball for free-agency status recently and is likely only weeks from becoming a free agent, according to his agent.

A report on ESPN suggesters that the New York Yankees have already shown interest in the lefty and will most likely be one of the top suitors.

Chapman’s fastball has been clocked at 102 mph when he appeared at the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. Other teams who have show interest include the Red Sox, Cubs. Angels and Dodgers. There has been nothing reported that suggests that the Mets will have any interest.

Chapman defected from the Cuban national team in August during a tournament in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and has been living in Barcelona, Spain ever since.

On Monday, Chapman’s representatives announced that the left-hander has established residency in Andorra, a tiny country of about 84,000 that borders Spain and France. By establishing residency outside the United States, the 21-year-old Chapman avoids being subject to baseball’s amateur draft. MLB must study his residency and legal paperwork before declaring him a free agent.

Under normal circumstances, I would love to see the Mets jump into the bidding pool, but considering their current position, the Mets don’t have the luxury of playing around with a guy like Chapman and need to sign a solid proven starter. No matter what you read about this pitchers talent, let’s not forget he has been competing against what amounts to Class-AA type competition.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.