The Royals will sign left-handers Aroldis Chapmanreported MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. Alfre Alvarez from Con Las Bases Llenas had previously reported that a deal was near. fine sand adds that Chapman will be paid $3.75 million for a one-year contract plus performance bonuses.
Chapman, who turned 35 in February, was one of baseball’s most feared closers for over a decade but has slipped from those heights in recent years. From 2010-2020, he played 563 games with the Reds, Cubs and Yankees, averaging a 2.25 ERA and amassed 276 saves. His 11.5% walk rate during that time was certainly on the high side, but he paired that with an incredible 41.2% strikeout rate. Just Craig Kimbrell and Kenley Jansen had more stores at that time and only Josh Hader surpassed him in strikeout rate, at least 100 innings, though Hader didn’t debut until 2017 and did so over a much smaller sample.
In 2021, however, Chapman’s already shaky command seemed to get worse when he walked 15.6% of batters who came to the plate. He still posted a whopping 39.9% strikeout rate, but his 3.36 ERA was the highest in a season since 2011. Things got even worse last year when his walk rate jumped to 17.5% and he only eliminated 26.9% of the batters. That latter number was still above average, but a big drop from its previous form. Combined with the control issues, his ERA jumped to 4.46.
Troubles with Chapman weren’t limited to his on-field performance either. He had drawn the disapproval of many in the baseball world years earlier when an allegation of domestic violence resulted in a 30-game ban. More recently, he also drew the ire of many Yankee fans for missing time due to an infection from a tattoo. He then skipped a team training session between the regular season and the postseason, prompting the club to scrap him from their playoff list.
There’s more to come.