I'm thrilled (and shocked) by the Chapman signing. I have said that the Reds should not sign anyone and, if they do, not for more than just this year. The theory is that they should make a run with what they have (which is a fair amount of talent with some significant holes) and see where they are at the trade deadline. If they're in it, they'll have the flexibility (and the prospects) to make a deal and a run at the division or wild card. If they're out of it, they can trade everyone. They have a ton of payroll flexibility next year with only Cordero and BP signed beyond 2010. (They're are some buyouts.) They also signed Rolen through 2012, but that was a move that actually freed up some money for this year (if they need it) because they deferred some of Rolen's 2010 salary ($5 mil.)
The Chapman signing violates both of my rules, but that's not the point. First, Chapman is a huge prospect. I expect now that he's signed, he'll be in many lists top ten for 2010. He'll be a better buy than some of the guys that signed in this year's draft. Plus, the Reds backloaded the contract. This is similar to owing Alonso a bunch of money. He's still cheaper than if he were a free agent. We're looking at a rotation in 2012 of Volquez, Cueto, Bailey, Chapman, and Leake. That's a solid, and reasonably priced rotation.
The weird thing, and maybe what a lot of you thought (I know Rachel did) was, what's wrong with the guy if the Reds got him? Chapman apparently knew very little, if anything, about Cincy (he had to be shown where it was on a map) but liked the fact that the manager and pitching coach speak Spanish (you go, Dusty) and the Reds have other Spanish-speaking starting pitchers and Cordero. I don't know why the Reds got him, but other teams were in on him. Billy Beane in particular made a run (and he has to be right, right?) So I'm choosing to be super-excited. Which I needed today as I spent a half hour on the phone just trying to find someone with the Reds who would take my season ticket renewal order. I guess they're spending on payroll.