Via Ben Badler: Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu has successfully defected and will try to sign with an MLB team. He’s in the Caribbean somewhere and it typically takes a few months for players to establish residency, be declared a free agent by MLB, and get cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Abreu, 26, is said to be “an intelligent hitter without a lot of effort in in his swing and the power to hit 30-plus homers in a season … (though) some scouts consider his bat speed only fair.” He has a unorthodox double toe-tap and, like many Cuban hitters, is prone to breaking balls off the plate. Abreu is a big boy — he’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 258lbs. — with outrageous numbers in Cuba, including a .382/.525/.735 line this year and .394/.542/.837 last year. There’s plenty of video on YouTube.
Mike Napoli and Kendrys Morales are the best first basemen scheduled to hit the free agent market this winter, so Abreu’s defection came at a good time for him. Speculation is he could get a deal worth upwards of $70M, which strikes me as insane for a bad body, right/right first baseman with no defensive value or big league track record. The Yankees have already met their quota for big money first baseman, so I doubt they’ll get into the mix on Abreu.