Cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu continues to generate buzz, and the Red Sox and Orioles are two teams expected to be in the mix for him when he's eligible for free agency this offseason, according to reports from Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.
Abraham spoke to a team source this week who said that the team is "certainly interested" in the 26-year-old Abreu, who could fill the hole that will be left when Mike Napoli departs via free agency this offseason. Abraham notes that Abreu, who has a questionable defensive reputation, could play first base in the short-term and transition to designated hitter when David Ortiz retires. Earlier in the week, Sox GM Ben Cherington said on WEEI radio in Boston that the Red Sox "just don't know him well enough yet" to give a full scouting report but noted that the Sox will perform the necessary work to properly assess him before he's eligible for free agency.
The Orioles, meanwhile, have been scouting Abreu for more than a year and are intrigued by his "monster power," writes Kubatko. He adds that the Orioles don't typically enter into bidding wars for international players like the one that is sure to break out over Abreu, but the O's continue to discuss him internally. Baltimore has had some smaller scale success on the Cuban front recently, as they've signed outfielders Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia in the past year. Urrutia, for what it's worth, recently told MLB.com that he is one of Abreu's best friends from childhood, and the two talk regularly.