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Are the Tigers Getting in Line for Aroldis Chapman?

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SI.com is reporting that the Detroit Tigers are jumping into the pool of teams interested in signing 21-year-old Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

The words "get in line" come to mind, however, when you look at the list of clubs angling for a chance at the 6'4" kid with the 102 m.p.h. fastball. Of course, the Yankees are interested. (And they invited him to Yankee Stadium to watch Game 6 of the ALCS. How's that for a recruiting pitch?)

Other potential suitors mentioned have been the Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Athletics, and Cardinals. But I think virtually every team (and thus, every team-specific blog) has looked into the possibility of going after Chapman.

The Tigers have expressed an interest in pursuing international talent over the past couple of years. They were one of the teams chasing Junichi Tazawa last winter, sending two scouts to meet with him in Japan. Eventually, most clubs bowed out, reluctant to upset the relationship between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball. That didn't stop the Red Sox from signing Tazawa, however.

As Melissa Segura mentions in her article, however, Chapman won't be cheap. Consider that Jose Contreras cost the Yankees a four-year, $32 million contract back in 2002.

Here's what ESPN.com's Keith Law wrote about Chapman in July:

Chapman, reportedly 21, has a huge fastball and has been clocked as high as 100 mph in international competition. But he will sit more consistently in the mid-90s in his best starts and in the low 90s in some of his lesser outings. The quality of his secondary stuff is a bigger question; he has thrown a slider that's sharp and approaches 90 mph, but pitches primarily off his fastball. He has the arm speed required to throw a plus slider, and has also shown a curve, a cutter and a changeup in past outings.

Even if Chapman doesn't adopt any secondary pitches, Law writes, the fastball-slider combination could still make him a top-tier reliever. But his body type and stamina project to a potential ace starter, especially if he can develop off-speed stuff.

  • ESPN's Jorge Arangure says Chapman's stuff is comparable to Stephen Strasburg, the #1 pick in this year's amateur draft. Chapman is less of a finished product, however.
  • Here's a scouting report linked in the comments of our previous post.

UPDATE: Via Jason Beck, the Tigers have confirmed their interest in Chapman. Tom Moore, the team's director of international operations, acknowledges that part of the process includes determining how much a player will ask for and whether or not his value matches that price tag.