Sep
28

Sanchez: Cuban slugger Jose Abreu declared free agent, cleared to sign

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Via Jesse Sanchez: Cuban slugger Jose Abreu has officially been declared a free agent and cleared to both negotiate and sign with any team. He defected to somewhere in the Caribbean just last month, so the process didn’t take all that long. MLB has been looking to slow down the signing process for Cuban players.

Ben Badler described the 26-year-old Abreu as “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.

The Giants, Red Sox, Rangers, Mets, White Sox, Pirates, and Marlins have all been rumored to have some interest in Abreu. Mike Napoli and Kendrys Morales will be the best free agent first base/DH types this winter, so Abreu is hitting the market at a good time. The Yankees need right-handed power and quality bats in general, but they already have a bunch of first base/DH types under contract. Can’t just ignore positional needs. Abreu doesn’t make much sense for New York.

  • pat

    InB4 teh steinbrenners don’t care and don’t spend money.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Yup, that’s blaming the wrong set of people entirely.

  • CashmanNinja

    The power is very tempting, but I just do not like the fact that he’s so big and is severely limited to where he could play. He’s already 26 and who knows how long it’ll take for him to become adjusted to MLB pitching (if he ever does). There are many stories of guys who were great in Cuba who simply couldn’t play in the majors. He makes me think of a slimmer version of Juan Miranda. Miranda had some big power, but couldn’t hit anything off-speed and was always over-matched. He was a guess type hitter and I just feel that someone like Abreu would be the same. He’s like a Cuban version of Adam Dunn. If we didn’t have a 1st baseman or need for a rotating DH then I’d be fine with taking a chance on him, but we have bigger needs right now. Hell, I’d rather keep Overbay as a backup than get Abreu simply because of the vast amount of money that would be saved. We could use that money elsewhere like to re-sign Cano or go after my person choice — Tanaka.

  • FMB2345

    Who exactly are these “bunch of first base/DH types” we have signed? Teixeira will play first with rare days off to DH if he’s healthy. Jeter sad to say will be at SS or maybe at third if they can convince him to move (Assuming A-rod is suspended for the whole year). Ichiro’s value is tied to his defense so he’s no DH candidate and Wells is a bench player at this point, more likely to make a spot start in the outfield than DH. That leaves Soriano (LF) and the Arbitration eligible players Nix (UT), Gardner (CF), Cervelli and Stewart (C). So the Yankees would pass on a potential long term asset to what, DH Jeter who is a question mark at worst and a powerless hitter at best. If your insight holds true I think you can mark me down for a one on the fan confidence poll for the foreseeable future.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting & Defense & Baserunning

      Bigger needs than 1B/DH for the Yankees over the next couple of years:
      2B
      SS
      3B
      C
      RF
      #1 Starter
      #2 Starter

      Sure they could fit him in somewhere, (depending on how the ARod situation turns out), but DH should be very low priority compared to their many other gaping holes, and not really a position worth taking expensive risks with.

      • FMB2345

        Sign McCann, Abreu and Tanaka resign Cano and Ryan Take a flyer on Sizemore and hope the three headed outfielder of Grady, Ichiro and Vernon Wells can produce something in RF (assuming they can’t get rid of Wells or Ichiro or both). Pick up a reliever or two on the cheap. Go with that. Honestly we’re weak in minor league trade chips weak in major league trade chips and the free agent market isn’t looking bright the next few years. We take the best we can get if it means buying a DH because he’s the best we can do, even if it’s not at a premium position, then that’s what we need to do. As far as risks are concerned we aren’t in dynasty mode anymore its going to take risks to get anything good given this market, we’re not one piece away, if we aren’t going to do a much needed overhaul from the ground up than we have to take risks.

    • bkight13

      If it’s anywhere near 6/42 they should be all over him. It doesn’t cost a draft pick, so it’s just Ichiro type money. It is well worth the minimal risk. Chapman, Cespedes and Puig have all proven to be worthy.

      Boston hasn’t had a problem with a full time DH for the last 10 years and Abreau seems made for the job.

  • Jim buck

    Ah yes all those first baseman that the yanks have. I must not be a real fan because I cannot recall anyone beside texeira who may be healthy. What happened to the Yankee organization run by George Steinbrenner. Why would I go 5 hours to Yankee stadium next year to see this team??? They better start looking at people like this abreu kid otherwise we’re going to see Yankee stadium half empty and drawing under 3 million. Are people going to go see Robinson cano trot as he hits a home run that isn’t and turns into a potential double and then he gets thrown out at second?? Yanks will be a joke for several years to come if they keep looking at power hitting prospects from Cuba or wherever as unnecessary because they have a 37 year old occupying the position. What has happened to this franchise. By the way, why should we give a crap about the luxury tax and the poor steinbrenners being penalized by it. We deserve better. Thank you Mariano for an amazing career. We were so fortunate to see greatness that can never be matched again

    • Joel

      Amen.

  • vicki

    ot: remember when people thought both wild cards would come from the east?

    rays folding like hotcakes [sic].

    • ropeadope

      I still believe both wildcards are coming from the East (Yankees and Rays of course).

      Never give up hope!

  • jim p

    NY Times article on Cuba letting its athletes sign abroad at last. No more defections required. Article thinks this won’t affect US baseball so much for various reasons, but I’d think a few might end up here now. Do we go to Cuba to scout starting now?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09.....&_r=0

  • Farewell Mo

    A team as completely devoid of young talent like the Yankees should strongly look into this guy.

    • Mike

      We need good young cheap talent. Right now the only certainty is that he’s “young”. I can guarantee he won’t be cheap.

      • CashmanNinja

        I wouldn’t even say it’s a certainty that he’s young. It says he’s 26, but he could really be 28 for all we know. I have very little faith when it comes to ages after Jose Contreras and El Duque (no way they’re as “young” as they say). And he definitely won’t be cheap. He sounds like an Adam Dunn/Chris Carter type of player. No thanks.

      • Farewell Mo

        The only way you get young talent cheaply is to develop it yourself. This team has failed miserably in that area for years now so they need to acquire young talent anyway they can including spending some money, $189 be damned.

  • Al

    This might be the guy the Mets sign

  • Frank

    I have no idea how good this guy will be but if the Yankees choose to pass so they can save the DH spot for DJ then they’re dumber than I think they are. They have no young power assets and yet when one comes up…we pass bc of the 40 year old group know as arod (potential year log suspension), jeter (last year of his contract) and soriano (last year of his contract). What is going on? I guess they should save their money for the real top flight free agents like…oh wait…there aren’t any.

  • Conor in China

    Positional needs are of minimal importance. If the scouts think Abreu will hit major league pitching well, then they should strongly pursue him. If he is an above average hitter then he’d probably be the best right handed hitter on next year’s team and the only one who will be on the team for a while. He is also probably the best offensive player who won’t receive a qualifying offer and cost a draft pick. The Yankees have not drafted in the teens for a while so it would be nice to have a high pick.