Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu reportedly has defected, which should set off a bidding war for his services. Abreu could be better than Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes. At 26, he’s MLB-ready and looks just like just what the Pirates could useto build on their 2013 success. But the price is probably too steep. It figures to be months before MLB team actually bid for Abreu's services.
By Matthew Pouliot, HardballTalk.com
A pair of agents told El Nuevo Herald that first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu has defected from Cuba and is somewhere in the Caribbean, with separate reports placing him in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
If the news is true, Abreu would rate as biggest Cuban free agent ever. Arguably the country’s best hitter, Abreu is just entering his prime at 26 and he tied for the league lead in homers last year, hitting 19 in 264 at-bats. He finished the season batting .345 with a 39/54 K/BB ratio. In the World Baseball Classic, he went 9-for-25 with three homers and nine RBI.
Particularly in light of the success of Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig in the majors, Abreu will likely set off quite the bidding war if he’s made a free agent. Given that the Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers and Angels already have huge commitments at first base, the Red Sox and Rangers would seem to be in the best position to land him, with the Mets, Blue Jays, White Sox and Mariners rating as longer shots.
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