Quick Hits: Balentien, Marlins, Abreu, Yankees

Wladimir Balentien's journey to becoming Japan's single-season home run record holder took a number of twists and turns through the Mariners and Reds organizations, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes. Balentien, now with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, has 57 homers this year, topping Tuffy Rhodes, Alex Cabrera and Sadaharu Oh. Before that, though, he made his way through the Mariners' system, then went to the Reds in a minor trade after former Seattle GM Bill Bavasi took a job there. He played part of two years in the Reds organization and failed to find a lasting spot on their big-league roster. "For me, he was just one of those guys who ran out of time," says Bavasi. "It's not like there were two clubs that passed on him and he went over there and played great. There were 30 clubs that passed on him, and he went over there and found his niche. It's kind of remarkable what he's done." Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • The Marlins have been scouting Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Frisaro also notes that the Marlins are scouting "a couple" of young Cuban pitchers at an MLB showcase in the Dominican Republic. Abreu is expected to command an enormous contract, so it would be surprising if the Marlins ended up being serious contenders for his services. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets that, while the Marlins are interested in Abreu, they probably won't be able to or willing to spend the money necessary to sign him.
  • The Yankees' outlook for 2014 is bleak, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Mariano Rivera, Curtis Granderson and Andy Pettitte will all be free agents. While some of them might be back, many Yankees who are already under control for 2014 are signed to ugly contracts. Sherman points out that the Yankees have also seen few positive developments from their young players this season, and that 2013 hasn't seen the debut of a single blue-chip prospect.

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