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The KC Royals are set to sign Aroldis Chapman to a one-year contract

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Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees plays during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Milwaukee.  (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees plays during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

AP

The Kansas City Royals went into the offseason with the goal of adding a bullpen assist. Ideally, they wanted a relief pitcher with a caliber closer in back to bolster their relief corps.

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Their search led them to Aroldis Chapman, a former world championship champion who was previously seen as an elite closer. He has also drawn attention for high-profile off-field incidents.

The Royals and Chapman have reached an agreement for a one-year deal that will pay Chapman $3.75 million plus performance bonuses pursuant to Mark Fine Sand MLB.com. Chapman became a free agent after parts of seven seasons with the New York Yankees.

Chapman, 34, has earned seven All-Star appearances in his 13 seasons in Major League Baseball. One of the toughest pitchers in MLB history, Chapman has seen his effectiveness decline in recent seasons with the Yankees.

Chapman’s tenure with the Yankees ended abruptly and unofficially after he was left off the postseason roster. The Yankees left him off the roster yet He missed a mandatory team workout And he stayed home in Miami, presumably exasperated at how his season had unfolded — including being demoted from the closer role.

It dates back to 2008Chapman has thrown more pitches of 103 mph or more than any pitcher in the majors. From 2014-17, his four-seam fastball averaged over 100 mph, including an average of 101.6 mph in 2016 when he helped the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

In 667 career appearances (640 innings pitched), Chapman compiled a 2.48 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 3.29 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 14.7 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched and 315 saves. He has scored 30 or more games eight times since 2012.

A dominant force for a period of his career, Chapman was an All-Star from 2012-2015, 2018, 2019, and 2021. He was also named the 2019 AL Mariano Rivera Reliever of the Year as well as being selected to the All-MLB team.

Last season, Chapman posted a 4.46 ERA in 43 appearances (36 1/3 innings) with a 1.43 WHIP, a 1.54 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 10.7 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched and nine saves.

He posted a four-seam fastball velocity of 97.5 mph, though he had an average velocity on his sinker of 100.2 mph (only 34 pitches were thrown).

Chapman did not allow a run in his first 12 appearances of 2022, but he did allow six runs in seven shutouts (5 2/3 innings) in May before he went on the injured left Achilles tendon list.

After a rehab stint, Chapman returned to the Yankees in July. Went to IL back in August due to an infection as a result of the tattoo.

Chapman also struggled with mechanical and driving issues throughout the season after his fast start. His 6.94 walks per 9 innings was the highest since 2011, and he posted an average of 6.07 walks per 9 innings in 2021.

In 2016, he became Chapman The first player suspended Under MLB’s policy on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.

He received a 30-game suspension to start the season after an incident he suffered He allegedly strangled his girlfriend and fired eight shots in the garage of his Florida home — although prosecutors decided not to prosecute and cited conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence.

If Chapman is healthy and capable of throwing with consistent control, he will likely support the bullpen that has leaned heavily on closer Scott Barlow in recent seasons.

In 2022, Barlow pitched in a team-high 69 games and also led the club’s two catchers in wins (seven), innings pitched (74 1/3), ERA (2.18), strikeouts (77), batters faced (290) and saves (24). He was the only reliever in the major leagues with at least 70 home runs, 20 saves, and 5 wins. He recorded nine saves out of four or more, most of which were in the majors.

If Chapman remains an option to close games, it also boosts the overall depth of a relief unit that includes right-handers Taylor Clark, Dylan Coleman, Jose Quas, Carlos Hernandez, Colin Snyder, Josh Stoumont and Barlow, as well as left-handers Amir Garrett, Richard Lovelady and Anthony Misevich.

Garrett and Chapman were teammates in the Cincinnati Reds organization as they both began their big league careers.

Left-hander Jake Printz will continue his rehabilitation from elbow surgery early in the season. The Royals can also choose to convert starting pitchers who don’t rotate into relievers.

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he has covered high school, collegiate, and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call, and The Salt Lake Tribune. He has won awards for sports articles and sports columns.

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