January 08, 2010

The Blue Jays are showing keen interest in Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, and sources indicate their offer of about $20 million could make them the leader in about a six-team scramble for the left-handed pitcher with a decision possibly only a few days away. The Nationals, Marlins, Red Sox, A's and Angels are among other teams with some level of interest, though it isn't known whether any of them can top the Jays' bid, which was actually pegged at $23 million Friday by ElNuevo Herald and could even grow to $25 million.

Some reports have suggested Chapman could have a decision by Monday, but this is no certainty with a player who has already changed agents once since defecting. The 21-year-old is seen as extremely hard-throwing and talented but possibly a reliever and very likely not ready yet for the big leagues.

The Marlins are said to have bid anywhere from $13 million to $20 million, a wide gap that may reflect something of a divide in their front office. Marlins president David Samson is said to be pushing for Chapman more than the team's baseball people.

Boston is believed to have offered $15 million at one point but may have some reservations about Chapman while the A's, who have an increasing international presence, are thought to have bid in that range, as well. The Angels were said by one source to be "unlikely'' to be a major player, but Chapman's good friend Kendry Morales, the Angels' star first baseman, could stump hard for him

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