Sep 21, 2009, 12:08 PM EDT
Quick, find Andorra on a map. Not so
easy, is it? It’s safe to say Aroldis Chapman didn’t know it where it
was either before he decided to defect from Cuba. However, the
21-year-old fireballer has now established residency in the country, clearing a major hurdle to become a major league free agent.
Chapman walked out of his hotel in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
while Cuba was participating in a baseball tournament in July. His
location was not immediately known, but it appears that he was savvy
enough to take advantage of a major-league loophole which allows
players from third-party countries — no longer a product of the U.S.
embargo with Cuba — to enter the free-agent pool as opposed to the
draft. Because Chapman had a passport, he was able to get the wheels in
motion rather quickly. Another bonus, Andorra has no income tax, so
he’ll save a pretty penny in the end.
According to SI.com, Chapman may be
available for free agency before the playoffs begin. While there’s a wide
range of opinion about his skills, one scouting director told
SI.com that he projects more as a middle reliever than a front-end major league
starter. Either way, don’t expect the Yankees or Red Sox to shy away
from his 101 MPH fastball.
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