Too early to tell on Marlins’ interest in Abreu?
The Marlins already feature an All-Star pitcher and a slick-fielding shortstop who were born in Cuba. Perhaps the organization is prime to turn to a Cuban slugger on the international free agent market.
Jose Dariel Abreu, a power-hitting first baseman, is reportedly in Haiti after defecting from the Cuban national team.
Another report suggests the Marlins will make a big push for the 26-year-old once he is declared a free agent, a process that could take months.
ESPN’s Jim Bowden wrote the Marlins are “expected to go all out on Abreu.”
The slugger’s asking price could be in the six-year, $54 million range.
From what I’ve gathered, it is way too early to predict if the Marlins will indeed make a push for Abreu. The team is planning on sticking with Logan Morrison at first base, and Abreu may not be able to handle a corner outfield spot.
Abreu may be more suited to strictly play first base, or he could be an option for an American League club as a first baseman/designated hitter candidate.
More answers on Abreu will come in the ensuing months. Right now, it is way too early to speculate.
A couple of years ago, the Marlins offered Yeonis Cespedes six-years, $36 million before the power-hitting outfielder signed with the A’s for four-years, $36 million.
Abreu projects to be the latest prized-talent to come out of Cuba. A year ago, the Dodgers signed Yasiel Puig for seven-years, $42 million, and the outfielder is a National League Rookie of the Year frontrunner.
The Marlins have two Cuban-born standouts — Jose Fernandez and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Fernandez, the 21-year-old pitching sensation, represented Miami in the All-Star Game. The right-hander defected CUba at age 15 five years ago, and he moved rapidly to the big leagues.
Like Puig, Fernandez is a serious candidate for top NL rookie honors.
Hechavarria, 24, is a terrific defensive player and is solidifying shortstop in Miami.
The Marlins are clearly looking for offensive help.
The organization is rich in pitching, which gives encouragement for a brighter future. But they’ve really struggled at the plate, sitting last in the Majors in runs scored, home runs and batting average.
Mark Reynolds, placed on release waivers by the Indians, is a player the Marlins are having internal discussions about.
At the Winter Meetings last December, Reynolds was a free agent the Marlins discussed before he opted for Cleveland. But the general feeling is Reynolds may be best suited for the American League.
In a rebuilding season, the Marlins are looking for their young players to develop. They’ve had stretches of promise, but more times than not, they’ve endured their share of disappointments. Currently, they’ve lost eight of nine heading into tonight’s game at Kansas City.
In the offseason, the Marlins are not expected to be active on the free agent market, at least for high-priced, established players. So pursuing an international talent like Abreu makes sense.
Another alternative to bringing in offensive help could be trading a pitching prospect or two for a power hitter.
Miami is building around a solid, young pitching staff. Four untouchables in that rotation are Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner. Aside from lefty, Andrew Heaney, now at Double-A Jacksonville, the club may consider dealing any other of their good, young arms for offensive help.
A hitting catcher appears high on Miami’s wish list.
Atlanta’s Evan Gattis would fit the mold, but don’t expect that to happen. Chances are the Braves will not move Gattis because Brian McCann is heading towards a big contract in free agency, leaving Gattis as their likely starter in 2014.
– Joe Frisaro