After watching the Dodgers strike gold with Yasiel Puig, the NL West rival Giants are trying to land the next impact bat out of Cuba.
Dionisio Soldevila of ESPNDeportes.com reports that Giants general manager Brian Sabean and special assistant Felipe Alou are currently in the Dominican Republic scouting first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu. The 26-year-old slugger will need to establish residency outside of Cuba and be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control before being declared a free agent by MLB, but speculation is that he could top the $42 million deal received by Puig.
Soldevila notes that the Red Sox also scouted Abreu today, so there promises to be plenty of competition in order to sign him, but Giants vice president Bobby Evans indicated to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com two weeks ago that the team could be willing to make a big splash on the international market.
“The risk and cost assessment has to be part of the equation,” Giants vice president Bobby Evans told me. “As for the rewards, you do look at what some of these recent high-risk signings have done. It does give you a sense of `This is the potential.’ It does give you that desire to say, `Hey, can we get the next one?’”
If the Giants were to sign Abreu, they would have to move Brandon Belt from first base to left field.
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has an update on Jose Dariel Abreu, the powerful first baseman who defected from his native Cuba earlier this month and is in the process of becoming an MLB free agent:
Abreu has gaudy Cuban numbers, including the Cuban home run record (set during the 2010-2011 season). He seems likely to eclipse the seven-year, $42 million figure that the Dodgers committed to Yasiel Puig.
We learned last week that Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu had defected (reportedly to Haiti or the Dominican Republic) in an effort to make his way to the United States. Now he has picked an agent.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that Abreu has selected Barry Praver and Bart Hernandez of Praver Shapiro Sports Management to represent him stateside. He’s slated to have a showcase for teams in September, though he’ll have to establish residency outside of Cuba and be unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control before being declared a free agent by MLB. That process could take a while.
Highly regarded for his power, Abreu is a 26-year-old first baseman who stands at an estimated 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds. Passan (and many others) believe that he could command the richest contract ever for a Cuban player, possibly approaching $60 million or more. Yasiel Puig’s seven-year, $42 million deal with the Dodgers is currently the highest. Since Abreu is older than 23 and played in Cuba’s top league for more than three years, he will not be subject to MLB’s international spending cap.