- Jorge Arangure Jr.
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A surprising bidder has emerged in the Aroldis Chapman sweepstakes. The Toronto Blue Jays held a private workout for the touted Cuban pitcher Thursday morning in Florida, then met with his representatives, a source close to Chapman told ESPN The Magazine.
The fact that Chapman's Houston-based agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, were in Florida this week may mean that Chapman is close to a deal, though not necessarily with Toronto.
The Blue Jays join the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Angels as teams that have emerged this week as bidders for Chapman. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees also previously have expressed serious interest in the 21-year-old lefty.
The Angels were preparing an offer for Chapman, ESPNLosAngeles.com reported Thursday. But Angels scouting director Eddie Bane told ESPN The Magazine on Thursday that the Angels did not have a private workout for Chapman in Florida.
"If he is working out for the Angels [Thursday] it will be without me in attendance," Bane wrote in an e-mail. "I am here in soCal so I don't know anything about a workout for Chapman [on Thursday]."
Requests for comment to several Toronto front-office members were not returned.
Chapman worked out for approximately 14 teams three weeks ago during a showcase in Houston, in which his fastball topped out at 97 mph. Several scouts in attendance said they were impressed with Chapman's pitches and conditioning. The recent interest in Chapman likely stemmed from that workout.
It appears Chapman's value has risen since he received a $15.5 million offer from the Red Sox in November, when he was represented by his previous agent, Edwin Mejia.
One industry source speculated that Chapman now may be in line for a contract in the range of $20 million to $25 million.
Jorge Arangure Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.