One of my favorite websites - EastWindupChronicle -on all things Pacific Rim from the pov of scouts abroad is apparently in semi-permanent hiatus to my disappointment.
Still no word on the kind of money being thrown Kikuchi's way, but a decision should be made between the 24th and 26th according to his manager. Jeff Wilson has some Holland tweets about the meet and greet. And while I know it is the off-season, and some writers are taking it easy, but I found it quite odd that TR Sullivan's only source for the Holland trip is - gulp - Jamey Newberg. He merely poached a newberg blog entry as the core of his story when there are so many other interesting sources on the kid.
The phrase "Chapman is in New York" makes me cringe. He has flown over to interview and workout with clubs. Boston and New York are the destinations most likely for him at this point - Cubans and NY go together like Nescafe and Latin America - given that both clubs (or someone) will overpay, that is, pay him the going rate for a very good, established mid-rotation MLB starter, which is to say, too much. If TX bids at all I wouldn't expect them to go over 5/10, and that is an awful lot of money for a guy who could spend his first year in the minors. I just have this feeling that TX won't bid at all once the money starts getting out of hand. Focus on Kikuchi and even Arguelles AJ!
On Wednesday, prized Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman will arrive in New York to begin a series of meetings with several general managers, Chapman's agent Edwin Mejia confirmed to La Esquina.The 21-year-old will visit several cities, Mejia said, but the agent would not confirm a specific itinerary. It's expected he will visit with officials from the Yankees and the Red Sox, among others. "Aroldis is very excited to be coming to the States and plans to spend some time in the cities of the teams interested in him, exploring the sights and meeting the fans in addition to the team representatives," Mejia wrote in an email. Sources close to the situation indicate that other teams thought to have interest in Chapman -- including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels -- have yet to seriously inquire about the pitcher. A front office executive from one MLB club indicated the Dodgers aren't likely to be serious suitors for Chapman. Other teams that have yet to show formal interest in Chapman -- such as the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants -- are now beginning to pay varying degrees of attention to the free agent.
Melissa Segura over at SI - another good writer on international baseball - notes that Sano was cleared for a work visa by the DR consulate. The consulate has higher standards for proving identity/age than MLB. I wonder what this does to the credibility of the MLB vetting process given they labeled Sano's age as indeterminate and most likely 17? She also notes that San Pedro de Macoris - Sano's hometown - seems to have been the epicenter of age/identity fraud. This is where the Rangers have their academy BTW.
Kiley McDaniel has some pics up from the DR showcase - still waiting for the writeup - and he is editing his video.
Arangure tweets that the Giants are the team to beat to sign Wagner Mateo. The were a close second place to the Cardinals but were not willing to beat their 3.1 million asking price - the agent was asking for 3.5. St.Louis may get a real bargain here or an eventual flame out due to his vision problems. They were offering 2.5 million but now are likely to have to go no higher than 1 million. His eyesight is said to be 20/300 or some crazy figure and in 5 years, it is certainly possible that he'll be working in a ballpark, just, well, not as a player, not with _those_ crazy coke-bottle lenses. But, hey, as Keith Law might now say in the Scheppers case, "I ain't no doctor".
I came across one source who said he saw a Cuban kid throwing 99 at the NYY's Domincan complex on Monday- could that have been Chapman making a stopover there before getting wined and dined by Mark Newman in the big Apple- "Hello Newman...!!!!," says the jealous Rangers fan...