Monday, Cuban slugger Jose Abreu defected from Cuba and is now expected to play in Major League Baseball. He is going to be an extremely hot commodity as the season nears its end and even more with the recent success of Cuban players like Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
New York, as we all know, is pretty strapped for cash at this point. The Yankees are trying to get under the luxury tax threshold for next season and have already made re-signing second baseman Robinson Cano a top priority. Not to mention that the Yankees already have a first baseman locked in for the long-term in Mark Teixeira, who has barely played this season due to wrist injury. Signing Abreu seems unlikely at its earliest stages.
There is no doubt that if the Yankees are interested in Abreu, the Red Sox will probably kick the tires on him as well. Boston would be the top landing spot right now. They do not have a first baseman locked in nor do they have a huge power complement to David Ortiz in the lineup. Although Abreu will cost roughly $80 million, it may be worth it looking at the way Cespedes and Puig have played.
Abreu played in the same league as the other Cuban stars, Serie Nacional. The league is equivalent to a High-A minor league and Abreu played better than both Puig and Cespedes in the league. From 2009-2012, he has more than 100 home runs and more than 200 RBI. In a World Baseball Classic shortened season in 2012-13, Abreu clobbered 13 home runs and batted .382. He also hit three monstrous home runs in the WBC.
The power and hitting ability is there, which makes you wonder why scouts would be split on his potential.
If anything, Abreu will get a good deal and his potential could sky rocket. He still has to establish residency in another Caribbean country and has to get the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to clear him to sign before getting baseball to declare him a free agent. All of this will take months, but be sure to keep him in the back of your mind come the winter.