Aroldis Chapman agrees to deal with pirates (Source)

Aroldis Chapman agrees to deal with pirates (Source)

The Pirates entered the offseason as the club’s greatest strength, and now they’ve bolstered it even further, reaching agreement on a one-year, $10.5 million contract with free agent Aroldis Chapman, a source told Mark MLB.com. They will support me.

The club has not confirmed the deal, which is awaiting a physical examination.

In 2022, Chapman posted a 4.46 ERA in just 43 games with the Yankees — his highest ERA in a 162-game season in the fewest appearances since his rookie year. But he entered free agency this offseason after a strong season in ’23, when he had a 3.09 ERA in the regular season before allowing just two runs in eight postseason innings in the Rangers’ march to the World Series.

Chapman, 35, signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Royals last offseason and had a 2.45 ERA in 31 games with Kansas City before being shipped to the Texans at the end of June in the first step of the deadline season. While Chapman probably isn’t a closer at this point in his career (he’s made just 15 regular-season saves over the past two seasons), he still has a fastball that averaged 99.5 mph (99th percentile) and finished last year in the 100th percentile in whiff and strikeout rate.

With those numbers, Chapman is headed to Pittsburgh’s late-innings role alongside closer David Bednar and setup relievers Collin Holderman, Carmen Mlodzinski and Ryan Borucki, among other options.

The biggest knock Chapman faces at this point in his career is his leadership and control. He has had a walk rate above 14.5 percent in each of his past three seasons and finished last year with 36 walks in 58 1/3 innings.

This was Chapman’s third time entering free agency. He signed a five-year, $86 million contract with the Yankees in December 2016 (which was the largest contract for a reliever at the time), then signed the aforementioned deal with the Royals last season. His best season with the Yankees came in 2019 when he had a 2.21 ERA with 37 saves in 57 innings pitched.

The Buccaneers entered the offseason needing to address their starting rotation, which they did by acquiring Martin Perez and Marco Gonzalez, but the back end of the group is still a bit thin. Having a deeper bullpen is another way to bridge the gap from the sixth to ninth innings while keeping the leads intact.

Chapman’s $10.5 million is significant, as it represents the second-highest salary for the Buccaneers this season behind Brian Reynolds, who will receive north of $13 million as part of his eight-year, $106.75 million extension, which begins in 2023.

(tags for translation) MLB

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