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Report: Pirates agree to deal with LHP Aroldis Chapman

Francys Romero reports the long-time reliever and the Pirates are in agreement on a deal.

MLB: World Series-Texas Rangers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates are in agreement on a one-year deal worth $10.5 million with LHP Aroldis Chapman pending a physical per Francys Romero. Terms of the deal were first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The long-time reliever and closer will be 36 this upcoming year entering his 15th MLB season.

Spending the first five with the division rival Cincinnati Reds as one of themost dominant closers in all of baseball, sealing the deal on 146 games before being traded in December of 2015 to the New York Yankees and then traded again at the deadline to the Chicago Cubs who went on to win the World Series.

Going back to the Yankees in free agency on a five-year record-setting deal for $86 million, later agreeing to an extension that kept him in New York through the end of 2022, his time in New York started strong but was filled with some ups and some downs.

Including a 30-game suspension in 2021 after an MLB investigation found that Chapman had violated MLB’s joint domestic violence policy in October of 2015 when he allegedly choked his then 22-year-old girlfriend and fired eight shots from his firearm into a wall. No formal charges were ever brought by prosecutors.

Losing his closing duties in 2022 with the Yankees to former Pirate Clay Holmes, Chapman sought to rebound in 2023 with the rebuilding Kansas City Royals, signing a one-year $3.75 million-dollar deal. While not often taking on the role of closer, he pitched effectively enough to be traded again to an eventual World Series winner in the Texas Rangers. In 61 combined games in 2023 between the two teams, he carried an ERA of 3.09 in 58.1 innings pitched.

Needless to say, the move comes as something of a surprise to most if not all. The Pirates needed to spend on their pitching staff, but it was presumed by most that any additions to the bullpen would be minor while the main focus would be the starting rotation which is still in desperate need of help.

It’s been suggested by some that at this point the Pirates’ best option for adding to that group is via trade. Perhaps this move represents the allocation of financial assets elsewhere the Pirates see as an area of need as they explore the trade market for additional help in the rotation after missing out on some of their targets this offseason. Only time can tell.

Chapman joins a bullpen group headlined by two-time All-Star closer David Bednar and supplemented by the likes of Colin Holderman, Carmen Mlodzinski, Ryan Borucki and Dauri Moreta.