Chico Harlan of the Nationals Journal reports that Mike Rizzo was one of as many as 50 MLB representatives to watch defected Cuban pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman:
"The Washington Nationals, just months after signing the most hyped pitching prospect in a generation, now have their eyes set on another untested but prodigious talent. According to two sources, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo on Tuesday attended a workout in Houston to watch the bullpen session of 21-year-old pitcher Aroldis Chapman, a Cuban defector who is sometimes described as the left-handed version of Stephen Strasburg.
According to media reports, representatives from 15 major league teams attended the workout session. Though Rizzo's attendance doesn't mean that the Nationals will become serious bidders for Chapman -- he could command a contract worth $20 million or more -- it suggests that the organization is curious. Unlike Strasburg, who was obtained in the amateur draft, Chapman is a free agent and can entertain offers from any club. He defected last summer from Cuba, and is touted by many in the industry as the best pitcher not already in an organization."
Analysis: Were the Nationals to invest another $20 million in an unproven, young, amateur talent, it would certainly be a statement. While Chapman and Strasburg both are considered the best talents to reach the Majors in a very long time, the Nationals set a dangerous precedent by paying a pitching prospect so much money in the first place when they signed Strasburg, were they to do it again with Chapman, people would consider them insane.
Pitching prospects are a dangerous breed. Arms are so fragile and the mentality that goes into not only being an effective pitcher, but one who can learn and improve is so much more complicated than that of a young hitters. That being said, they could look like geniuses if they do it and it works out. Neither Chapman nor Strasburg are considered far from the majors, and a 2012 rotation of Chapman, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Lannan, and Detwiler certainly could rival that of the Oakland A's staff of several years ago. All be it a lot more expensive.