Aroldis Chapman is the 21-year-old Cuban refugee who throws 100 mph and has been called the left-handed Stephen Strasburg. He is a free agent and is coveted by many teams — including the Mariners. I wrote a column about him a few weeks ago. The Mariners had some serious interest at one point, but it seemed as though all progress on Chapman had halted in the last three weeks.
Perhaps now we know why. The word today is that Chapman has fired his agent, Edwin Mejia, who was brand-new in the field, and hired two of the biggest names, the Hendricks brothers, Randy and Alan. They are perhaps best known as the agents for Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte (not to mention Jay Buhner), The Hendricks also represent Cuban Kendry Morales, which might have been the entree to Chapman.
Frankly, this really surprises me. Mejia has been with Chapman from the day he defected in Rotterdam, guided him through the process of establishing residence in the small European country of Andorra, and helped him through the paperwork to be declared a free agent by MLB. Mejia was also fairly deep into the process of negotiating with teams, and now Chapman has dumped him for a high-profile guy to do the finishing touches. It doesn’t feel right to me. One of Mejia’s associates told me a couple of weeks ago that there was no way that Chapman would abandon them for another agent, but now he has done just that.
I suppose this favors the Yankees, as Sam Borden says, because they have worked so closely with the Hendicks over the years. It also could make the Angels a big player for Chapman, if he wants to be with Morales. Not sure what it means for the Mariners, but as I said from the beginning, if the Yankees or Red Sox get serious, it’s going to be tough for them to compete