The KC Royals baffled fans when they signed maligned reliever Aroldis Chapman to a one-year contract this offseason. While Champman is a seven-time All Star, his ability as a pitcher and as a teammate was questioned in 2022 with the New York Yankees. Now, Chapman is already having trouble staying healthy without appearing in a spring training game.
While the Royals are fresh off a 3-0 weekend to start spring training, Chapman was noticeably unavailable. The Royals did not update fans on Chapman's status, but MLB.com's Anne Rogers clarified the situation after Kansas City's Sunday victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Rogers' answer brought on more questions though. Fans are quick to understand back tightness, a stomach bug, or other understandable ailments. The originally unclear "accident at home" turned out to be a slip and fall, according to Rogers. Champan "cracked a tooth and split his lip open, requiring stitches", but the 13-year veteran is on track to throw a bullpen session Tuesday.
Chapman's role with the Royals is unclear as to whether he is competing with closer Scott Barlow for that role or just being a setup man. The 34-year-old is hoping to reclaim some former glory, and Kansas City is paying him to do so. His one-year contract has a guaranteed $3.75 million but could rise to $8.75 million based on performance bonuses in the 2023 season. Chapman was an All-Star in 2021, showing that his glory days were not long ago.
Chapman struggled mightily through the 2022 season. He appeared in 43 games, recording a 4.66 ERA for the Yankees. It was a new low on the field for Chapman, but things got worse still. He missed a mandatory team workout, and New York left him of the team’s ALDS roster. His 2023 season is not off to a stellar start, but hopefully some dominant appearances on the diamond cancel out his cloudy history.