The Associated Press is reporting that White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu testified to a Miami federal jury on Wednesday that he ate his fake passport aboard an Air France flight from Haiti to Miami. He washed the paper down with beer. When Abreu arrived in late October 2013, he signed a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox.
Abreu said, “If I had not been there on that particular day, the deadline, then the contract would not be executed and would no longer be valid. We had to be in Chicago to sign the contract.”
Abreu testified in the trial of sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, which is expected to last a few more weeks. Both are accused of alien smuggling and conspiracy. According to the allegations, the duo took Cuban baseball players to other countries to eventually sign a contract in Major League Baseball after establishing residency. Abreu’s testimony came under a grant of limited immunity, which means he won’t be prosecuted as long as he tells the truth while he’s on the witness stand.
Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin are among other players to testify in this trial.
Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.
Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.
The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.
Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.