Jays not going after left-hander Chapman
Club not in 'realistic position' to pursue prized Cuban defector
TORONTO -- Part of general manager Alex Anthopoulos' vision is helping the Blue Jays become a major player when it comes to pursuing the world's top talent. For now, though, Toronto is not in a position to make a serious run at Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman.
Despite reports indicating that the Blue Jays were one of several teams with interest in the 21-year-old Chapman -- a free agent after defecting from his home country -- Anthopoulos told MLB.com that trying to sign the pitcher was "not realistic."
Anthopoulos, who replaced J.P. Ricciardi as Toronto's GM at the end of the regular season, has spent the early portion of this offseason revamping his front office -- specifically, the scouting and player development departments. By rebuilding the organization's infrastructure, Anthopoulos believes the Jays will eventually be able to realistically pursue someone like Chapman.
"We don't have enough background and scouting looks to make a proper offer," Anthopoulos wrote in an e-mail. "Going forward, these will be the types of things we will be more proactive with. I think the way the Red Sox pursued [Daisuke Matsuzaka] is a great model. They were doing homework on him for years."
Multiple reports have indicated that the left-handed Chapman, who also goes by the first name Albertin, could command between $40-60 million this winter. The Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, White Sox, A's, Cubs, Cardinals and Mets have all been mentioned as having interest in Chapman, who is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the world.
Chapman, who pitched for the Cuban national team during the World Baseball Classic in the spring, successfully defected from Cuba while taking part in a tournament in the Netherlands in July. That came after Chapman fell short in his attempt to defect in the spring of 2008. He was suspended and kept off Cuba's team for the '08 Beijing Olympics as a result.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.