UPDATE: Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that the White Sox and Abreu have a deal, pending a physical. The two sides have agreed to a six-year, $68 million contract, confirming Rosenthal’s original report.
10:36 p.m. ET: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports confirms that the Rangers will not sign Abreu. He also hears that the White Sox are the favorites.
9:32 p.m. ET: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears that despite the Rangers’ interest, the White Sox are still expected to land Abreu.
9:15 p.m. ET: It’s not a done deal yet. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers are “definitely making a push” for Abreu. While the White Sox are also in the mix, one source familiar with the negotiations tells Sullivan that Texas is expected to sign him. Stay tuned.
8:40 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Cuban slugger Jose Abreu is close to finalizing terms on a six-year, $68 million contract. The 26-year-old is expected to land with the White Sox, confirming speculation from reports earlier today.
If true, this deal would be the richest first-time contract ever for an international player, topping Yu Darvish’s six-year, $56 million contract with the Rangers. And just to compare this with other high-profile players from Cuba, Yasiel Puig inked a seven-year, $42 million deal with the Dodgers last June while Yoenis Cespedes received a four-year, $36 million contract from the Athletics two offseasons ago.
Abreu might not be as dynamic as Puig or Cespedes, but he’s highly regarded for his power potential. Assuming the deal gets one, he’ll take over first base from Paul Konerko in Chicago.
The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.
St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.
The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.
Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?
Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.
There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:
The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.
When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.
Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?
Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.
The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.