By Joe Christensen
I had concerns about overplaying the Twins’ interest in Cuban LHP Aroldis Chapman with this story after hearing they’d have two scouts in Houston today for Chapman’s highly publicized workout.
No, I don’t think the Twins will sign Chapman because that would mean outbidding the big boys (Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, etc.), but the Twins surprised us earlier in the fall by signing Dominican SS Miguel Angel Sano. Tony Oliva has raved about Chapman, based on reports he’s heard from Cuba, but it’s not like the hard-throwing lefthander has been a secret. He was lighting up the radar gun in the World Baseball Classic last spring.
Chapman, 21, has been called a lefthanded version of RHP Steven Strasburg, the San Diego State phenom drafted No. 1 overall by the Washington Nationals. One MLB executive told me yesterday that if Chapman were in the June amateur draft, he’d be a high first-round pick.
Again, he’s a prospect who will likely need to start in Class A or Class AA before gaining the polish he needs for the big leagues. So it’s not like we’re talking about the final piece of anybody’s 2010 rotation. This will be an investment in the future. ESPN.com has reported that Chapman has a $15.5 million from the Red Sox. I can’t imagine the Twins matching a bid like that, but they have become a team to watch on the international market, and their interest in Chapman is at least notable.
Notes: Heard Monday that the Twins are nowhere close to a move for a 3B, as that market is oversaturated with options, which figures to eventually drive down prices. Doesn’t make sense to overpay now when there will be bargains to be had later. Meanwhile, across MLB, moves are being made at a dizzying pace. Besides the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee blockbuster, the White Sox traded for CF Juan Pierre. Here, Aaron Gleeman notes that this appears to complete Chicago’s offseason puzzle.