The Cuban flamethrower is looking to join a major league team. As long as he doesn't require a ML deal, the Yankees should go after him.
First I'll mention the cons:
His control (or lack thereof) - in 118.1 innings last season in the Cuban National League, he walked 64 batters (fifth most) and had 14 wild pitches (the most).
Age - this is a pro and a con. He's only 22 years old, so he's rather unrefined and lacks any secondary pitches more than a get-me-over slider. Even throwing the kind of heat he does, if he can't throw another pitch for strikes, he won't be effective.
However, the pros far outweigh the cons, especially considering the Yankees' situation:
(follow the jump for video)
Potential - Chapman has the upside of a Randy Johnson or CC Sabathia. He has that much talent. It's one thing to reach 95 MPH as a lefty, but 100 puts him in elite category. Even with a mediocre secondary pitch, he would be a very effective pitcher. These guys don't come around too often. It didn't work with Igawa, Contreras and Irabu, but did with El Duque and Matsui. Chapman is no Igawa, in which there were questions about his 'stuff' being good enough to retire ML hitters - that's not a problem with the Cuban southpaw.
Age - like I wrote above, this is a pro and a con. Because he is so young, he can work his way up through the farm system. You couldn't do that with Igawa or some other mid-late 20's prospect. Chapman is young enough that he can polish his game and still break into the majors in his early-mid 20's. There are certainly a lot of pros to signing John Lackey (31) or Randy Wolf (33) instead, but we'd be paying for their past, not their future.
The draft - Chapman is an international free agent, so he's obviously exempt from the ML free agent compensation system (the Yanks wouldn't give up a pick for him, unlike with Lackey or Wolf). He's also exempt from the amateur draft; because the Yankees never get a top 15 pick, they have to take players with higher risk. They can never select an 'ultra-talent' like Joe Mauer, Ken Griffey, Jr. or Stephen Strasburg. If Chapman was a college pitcher, he would go in the top 10, no question. The Yanks can get one of those 'ultra-talents' without hoping and praying he falls to the bottom of the first round.
Money - like the way Boston's front office excused their $51 million posting fee for Dice-K, if Chapman can be signed to a bonus-heavy contract (instead of a large salaried one), it would prevent his contract from affecting the payroll, and hence any luxury taxes. It would also make him more tradeable should he turn into a pumpkin.
Add in that lefties tend to fare better at Yankee Stadium and it makes his signing even more sensible.
If he turns into a left-handed A.J. Burnett, we should be very happy. But he could turn into CC Sabathia or Randy Johnson (not the one we know - the one that pitched for Seattle and Arizona: the first ballot Hall of Famer).
(Check out the pitch at 2:58. He strikes out the batter with a 100-MPH heater and it nearly rips the catcher's glove off his hand.)