Aroldis Chapman will pitch for somebody next year.
An All-Star in each of the past four seasons, Chapman is only 27 years old. According to Major League Baseball, he threw the 62 fastest pitches in the league last year, all of them over 102 mph.
Even beyond that, Chapman’s life has been eventful. Having failed in an attempt to defect from Cuba in 2008, he was banned from the national team. He successfully made his getaway the following year. In 2012, he was sued for $18 million for falsely accusing Curbelo Garcia of human trafficking. The suit, filed by Garcia’s wife, claims Chapman conspired with the Cuban government and made the charges in exchange for reinstatement to the national team, thereby qualifying for a trip to the Netherlands, during which he defected.
Aroldis Chapman was not arrested at the time, apparently in part “due to conflicting stories.”
Perhaps it was anxiety about the lawsuit that provoked him to crank up his Mercedes for the early morning ramble that resulted in his 2012 arrest for driving 93 mph without a valid license.
Until Monday, it looked as if Aroldis Chapman would be leaving Cincinnati for Los Angeles. Unlikely as it might have seemed, the Reds were reportedly willing to trade him to the Dodgers for two prospects.
For those unfamiliar with baseball terminology, no “prospect” has ever thrown the 62 fastest pitches in a Major League season.
But on Tuesday it was reported that the proposed trade might never happen. That was when allegations surfaced that on Oct. 30 at his home in Florida, Chapman had choked his girlfriend and pushed her into a wall.
Aroldis Chapman was not arrested at the time, apparently in part “due to conflicting stories.” The one which had Chapman pushing and choking his girlfriend does not necessarily negate Chapman’s own story, in which he acknowledged that he’d punched his car, retrieved a handgun from the glove compartment and fired seven rounds into the wall of his garage and another into an open field.
There will be those who’ll argue that Major League Baseball should be leery of Aroldis Chapman. They will suggest that perhaps he should be suspended from the game.
But according to the numbers and all accounts, he’s very good at the game. Maybe he should be suspended from everything else.