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Jays eye Chapman in private workout

Jays eye Chapman in private workout

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TORONTO -- Earlier this offseason, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said the Blue Jays did not have enough background information to get seriously involved in the bidding for free-agent left-hander Aroldis Chapman.

Toronto has apparently been doing its research.

According to a report on ESPN.com on Friday afternoon, the Blue Jays held a private workout for the highly touted Chapman on Thursday in Florida. Following that session, the Jays reportedly met with the left-hander's representatives, Houston-based agents Randy and Alan Hendricks.

The Hendricks' presence in Florida could indicate that a team may be nearing an agreement with the 21-year-old Chapman -- a native of Cuba. The A's and Angels also emerged as bidders for Chapman this week.

Anthopoulos could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Yankees and Red Sox are also believed to have serious interest in Chapman, who pitched in front of roughly 14 teams in early December in Houston. Anthopoulos has previously noted that the Blue Jays had scouts in attendance for that workout.

It is believed that Chapman could command a contract worth between $20-25 million. In November, Boston reportedly made an offer of $15.5 million for Chapman, who was represented by agent Edwin Mejia at the time.

Toronto has increased its scouting and player-development departments under Anthopoulos, who has gained approval from ownership to pour more funds into those areas. In late October, though, Anthopoulos wasn't sure that the Blue Jays could get seriously involved in talks with the young pitcher.

"We don't have enough background and scouting looks to make a proper offer," Anthopoulos wrote in an e-mail at the time. "Going forward, these will be the types of things we will be more proactive with. I think the way the Red Sox pursued [Daisuke Matsuzaka] is a great model. They were doing homework on him for years."

Chapman pitched for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic this past spring and was 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two games. He pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed six hits and four walks while striking out six. He left the Cuban team in July during an international tournament in The Netherlands.

Anthopoulos is scheduled to get married on Saturday before heading to Hawaii for his honeymoon. Under the circumstances, it is not clear how close the Blue Jays might be to announcing a potential deal with Chapman, if one were going to come to fruition.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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