Kansas City Royals Sign Aroldis Chapman

Kansas City Royals Sign Aroldis Chapman
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Royals sign Aroldis Chapman. He agreed on a one-year deal with the team, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The Royals front office mentioned they wanted to add a reliever to reinforce a bullpen that was near the bottom in all statistics in 2022. Chapman will do that. The 34-year-old left-hander will make $3.75 million in 2023, plus performance bonuses.

Chapman’s Awful Season

Chapman had an awful 2022 season with injuries, pitching, and discipline with the New York Yankees. He had a career-worst 4.46 ERA, lost speed on his fastball, and could not find the strike zone. Although he had nine saves early on, a brutal stretch in May cost him the closer’s role. Health issues that included an Achilles problem followed by a leg infection forced him out of action for almost two months and certainly didn’t help.

Controversy

While he struggled on the field, he had hullabaloo off the field. The Yankees were preparing for the AL Division Series in October. Chapman was supposed to be throwing a live batting practice but decided to skip the mandatory workout. He was left off New York’s postseason roster and told to stay away from the team.

Regain Control

Kansas City Royals sign Aroldis Chapman to shore up their bullpen. If he can regain his control on the mound, he will provide some of the stability they are seeking. Pitching Coach Brian Sweeney will work with him, getting him into pitching shape and fine-tuning his mechanics. Although not expected to hit 100-MPH anymore, if he can get his fastball back in the upper 90s he has a chance to be effective again.

Royals Bullpen Depth

The Royals’ 2023 bullpen includes right-handers Taylor Clarke, Dylan Coleman, Jose Cuas, Carlos Hernandez, Collin Snider, and Josh Staumont. Left-handers Amir Garrett, Richard Lovelady, and Anthony Misiewicz round out the mix. Chapman brings his 13 years of experience to help stabilize what was an over-taxed bullpen in 2022.

Occasional Saves

Although we could see Chapman get some chances at saves, Scott Barlow—who had 24 saves in 28 opportunities last season—is the closer. If Chapman is healthy and able to throw with consistent control, we expect new Manager Matt Quatraro to use him in the closer’s role, allowing Barlow needed time off.

Potential Rebound Season With Royals

Royals’ fans are hoping the negativity is behind Chapman. Like management, they’d like to see a rebound season from him. If he pitches well, he’ll be an asset to the team, especially if they’re in the playoff hunt. Worst case, he could be a trade piece come July if they’re not. Many teams in the hunt for a playoff spot would certainly trade to acquire a veteran bullpen arm—and the Royals would like to continue to add to their farm system. It will be interesting to see what unfolds throughout the season.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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