PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 01: Aroldis Chapman #45 of the Texas Rangers pitches during Game 5 of the 2023 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 in
Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Former All-Star Closer Signs With the Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates just added an infamous fireballer in Aroldis Chapman to the back end of their bullpen.

On Monday evening, Robert Murray of FanSided reported on X that free agent reliever Aroldis Chapman had agreed to a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, which was later said to be for $10.5 million for one year. 

Chapman, who will be entering his 15th MLB season, is one of the most accomplished closers in MLB history. He has made seven All-Star teams, he saved 321 games (which is tied for 21st all-time), and his career strikeout rate of 14.8 per nine innings is the best of any MLB pitcher with more than 500 innings thrown.

In addition, Chapman has the second-lowest batting average allowed by any pitcher in MLB history facing at least 1,500 batters, with the first being the the Houston Astros' newly acquired closer, Josh Hader. 

While Chapman's stats are impressive, he is — and will always be — best known for his record-setting fastball velocity. The 35-year-old Chapman has been the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball since velocity started being tracked, with his four-seam fastball averaging 99.6 mph last season. 

Chapman also holds the Guinness World Record for fastest baseball pitch ever thrown, when he hucked a 105.8 mph fastball during a relief appearance against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 24, 2010. Chapman has also (unofficially) beaten that record, when he threw a fastball in 2014 that was clocked at 106 mph, against — the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

In fact, Chapman and the Pirates — specifically his newest teammate, Andrew McCutchen — have a long, heated history together. Chapman became public enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh when he hit McCutchen with a 101 mph fastball back in 2012 — which McCutchen believed was intentional. 

Although the two have likely squashed their beef — given that they were also teammates on the Yankees back in 2018 — many Pirates fans probably haven't forgiven Chapman for hitting their 2013 MVP and Pittsburgh legend. 

Chapman also has a history of off-field controversies, as he was suspended for 30 games in 2016 for violating the MLB's domestic violence abuse policy. 

Yet, the Pirates clearly believe the polarizing closer's past is well behind him by now. And they hope that he'll be able to help them improve upon the 76-86 record they finished the 2023 regular season with. 

Only time will tell whether Pittsburgh's wishes come true. 

MORE: Aroldis Chapman snags MLB record with flamethrower of a pitch