Jose Dariel Abreu defected from his native Cuba in early August with the intention of signing a big contract with a Major League Baseball team.
That whole process is now well underway.
According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the powerful 26-year-old first base prospect has officially established residency in Haiti and has been cleared by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Abreu has also petitioned MLB to grant him free agency and can begin negotiating with teams once that request is approved. There’s no reason to think it won’t be.
Abreu, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound slugger, batted .394/.542/.837 with 75 walks, 35 home runs, 71 runs scored and 99 RBI in 87 games for Cienfuegos, a Cuban Serie Nacional team, in 2011-2012. He hit .382/.535/.735 with 13 homers, 37 runs scored, 36 RBI and 37 walks in 42 games during a shortened 2012-2013 campaign.
He is thought to be seeking more than $50 million in guaranteed money. And he’ll probably get it.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)