Vie. Feb 23rd, 2024

Left-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman and the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed on a one-year, $10.5 million contract on Monday, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Chapman, 35, is the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball since velocity tracking was introduced to the game and pitched vital innings for the Texas Rangers en route to their first World Series championship this year. With a fastball averaging more than 99 mph, he struck out 103 in 58⅓ innings, walking 36 and allowing four home runs with a 3.09 ERA.

The Pirates, who project to be one of the youngest teams in the majors next season, also added veteran lefties Martin Perez and Marco Gonzales earlier this winter.

Chapman’s resurgence came after a trying 2022 with the New York Yankees, who left him off their postseason roster. Chapman signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Kansas City Royals before the 2023 season and was dealt in June to the Rangers for left-hander Cole Ragans.

Texas hoped Chapman would help stabilize a thin bullpen, and while he never pitched well enough to lock down the closer job, he pitched in nine postseason games and allowed two runs in eight innings, striking out six and walking five.

Chapman, entering his 15th major league season, is one of the most accomplished closers in baseball history. His career strikeout rate of 14.8 per nine innings is the best of any pitcher with more than 500 innings, and he has saved 321 games — tied for 21st all-time — while making seven All-Star teams.

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