Just when you think the Cincinnati Reds are the cheapest franchise in MLB with the tightest ownership group in the game; they go and do something completely out of left field and unprecedented.

They sign Aroldis Chapman.

CINCINNATI — In a stunning move, the Reds have landed prized Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, outbidding several other Major League clubs that were in the running for the left-handed pitcher.

Major League sources told MLB.com that Chapman’s deal is likely to be worth $25 million over five years, with an option for a sixth year that could push the value of the contract to $30 million. Payment would likely be spread out over several years to minimize the financial hit.

The signing is expected to be announced either Sunday night or Monday morning. Some details appear to still need finalizing, and Chapman must also take a physical.

This is absolutely huge Reds fans. The Reds add another crown jewel to their stable of already great young players, this in the form of a 22-year old left handed pitching prospect that can throw in upwards of 100 miles an hour.

This is a statement move by the Reds and an occurence of the Reds owner Bob Castellini showing that he really is committed to spending money every once in a while in an order to change the losing ways in Cincinnati.

It will be interesting to see where this catapaults the Reds in the NL Central. We would also expect that the Reds trade either Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang to make room for Chapman, and free up some salary space. The Reds already have a good group of arms that they can pair Chapman with to form one of the best young rotations in baseball.

Best guess at what happened: big spenders like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays were expected to jump out and sign Chapman like they always do (so of course we weren’t even talking about the kid yet–no need to start salivating over a meal you can’t afford right?) but our guess is that when a scout from the Reds saw Chapman throw he reported back to the front office brass that this kid was as close to a “can’t miss” prospect as there is existing. Bob Castellini then probably gave the blessing to pay the money to bring the kid to Cincinnati.

We have been extremely critical of the Reds cheap habits in bringing in new players. Those days are over. This is an exceptional feeling as a fan. And who knows where it could put us in 2010 and beyond as we continue to build the nucleus of young talent.