The Royals signed veteran reliever Aroldis Chapman to a $3.75 million, one-year contract Friday, a week after agreeing to terms with the seven-time All-Star, who is coming off a lackluster season with the New York Yankees.
Chapman was once known for consistently throwing 100 mph fastballs past woebegone hitters. But the left-hander, who will be 35 on opening day, was 4-4 with a 4.46 ERA in his final season with the Yankees, who ultimately left him off their AL Division Series roster when his actions raised questions about his dedication to the team.
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Chapman had spent time on the injured list with Achilles tendinitis in May, then lost the closer job to Clay Holmes. He was on the IL again in August for a leg infection following a tattoo, then missed a mandatory team workout for the playoffs.
The Royals are gambling that he can help what was one of baseball’s worst bullpens last season. The relievers had a 4.66 ERA, fourth-worst in the majors, and the team had done little to upgrade this offseason until recently trading away injury-prone shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and outfielder Michael A. Taylor for a trio of pitching prospects.
Chapman was an All-Star as recently as two years ago. He is 44-35 with a 2.48 ERA and 315 saves in 13 seasons.