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The Royals sign free agent reliever Aroldis Chapman

The 34-year-old lefty brings a lot of baggage.

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game One Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Royals have reportedly shown interest in free agent reliever Aroldis Chapman, according to MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand.

Thursday update: Feinsand reports the Royals have signed Chapman to a one-year, $3.75 million deal with performance bonuses.

Feinsand previously reported the Padres and Marlins were also interested in the seven-time All-Star.

The Cuban-born lefty was one of the most dominating relievers in baseball in his prime, but his best years are behind him. He was an All-Star in 2021 with a 3.36 ERA and 15.5 strikeouts-per-nine innings, but last season his ERA skyrocketed to 4.46 last year in just 36 13 innings and he posted the highest walk rate in baseball for anyone with at least 30 innings. He still throws hard at 97 mph, a few ticks below what he threw in his prime, but his whiff rate was down significantly. He missed three weeks late in the year after developing an infection in his leg from a tattoo he received. He was left off the post-season roster and dismissed from the Yankees last year after skipping a team workout in which he was asked to throw batting practice.

Chapman also brings significant baggage with him. In 2015 he was alleged to have pushed his girlfriend and put his hands around her neck, choking her, then firing eight gunshots into a wall. No charges were ever filed, but MLB did suspend him for 30 games.

With the Royals trying to develop young pitchers, they will have to ask whether having Chapman as a mentor with his history is worth the value he brings as a pitcher. They’ll also have to address the moral quandary of whether they should bring on a player with an allegation of domestic abuse in his history.

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Should the Royals pursue Aroldis Chapman?

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