Earlier this week, international free agent Jose Dariel Abreu hosted a showcase for interested teams in the Dominican Republic. There were representatives from pretty much every big league team on hand (including the Mets). Abreu, a slugging first baseman who turns 27 in January and recently defected from Cuba, is free to sign with any team.
We wrote about Abreu a few weeks ago, and wondered whether or not the Mets would enter the bidding. Earlier this week, during Terry Collins‘ press conference, Marc Carig of Newsday noted that the Mets may be more active this year in the international market. However, there’s no information out there that suggests the team will heavily pursue Abreu.
Two teams that are generating early buzz as far as their interest in Abreu is concerned, are the Marlins and Red Sox.
According to Juan Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel, the Marlins had a large contingent present in the Dominican Republic to watch Abreu earlier this week. That group included general manager Dan Jennings. Writes Rodriguez:
New general manager Dan Jennings led a contingent that also included international operations director Albert Gonzalez, pro scout Dave Roberts and Double-A manager Andy Barkett. An American League scout at the showcase said he anticipates the Marlins making a serious play for Abreu, who Major League Baseball declared a free agent last weekend. The Marlins’ talent evaluators spent Monday and Tuesday watching Abreu with counterparts from just about every other big league outfit. The scout, who spoke with a member of the Marlins’ group, said it would come down to how much owner Jeffrey Loria wants to spend.
While the Marlins certainly appear interested in Abreu, the Red Sox shouldn’t be ignored. According to Rodriguez’ report in the Sun Sentinel, the Red Sox had 12 representatives at Abreu’s showcase. Mike Napoil is a free agent after this season, and may not be retained by Boston. Additionally, time will eventually run out on David Ortiz. If the Sox sign Abreu (who isn’t known for his defense), he could eventually become their designated hitter.
As far as the Mets are concerned, it’s uncertain whether or not general manager Sandy Alderson and his lieutenants value Abreu highly enough to enter the bidding. Unlike recent Cuban defectors Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig, Abreu is known for his bat alone.
There’s also been a debate among scouts regarding just how well the cartoon like numbers Abreu put up in Cuba will translate in the big leagues. The Mets have numerous options at first base, including Lucas Duda, Ike Davis, Wilmer Flores, and Josh Satin. None of those players will make more than $4 million next season, and none of them will be on the books beyond 2014. In order for the Mets to go after Abreu, and hand him the deal he desires, they’d need to reach the conclusion that his productivity would dwarf their current in-house options.