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.