Jose Dariel Abreu Rumors

AL Central Notes: Konerko, Abreu, Jimenez, Ausmus

The Fielding Bible released its list of the best defensive players in all baseball, and one of only two back-to-back names is Alex Gordon of the Royals. (Of course, the other – Yadier Molina – has accumulated six total nods.) Elsewhere in the AL Central …

  • First baseman Paul Konerko is apparently unsure of how to interpret the White Sox' signing of Jose Dariel Abreu, He said he doesn't "know what the story is behind that" – referring to Abreu's long-term deal — as reported by Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). A meeting between player and team has yet to be put on the schedule, according to Kane.
  • Meanwhile, Abreu's deal has seen mixed reactions. Count Dan Farnsworth of Fangraphs in favor of the deal: he predicts that Abreu will be one of the game's 25 best hitters, making him well worth his contract.
  • The Indians will "almost certainly" make a qualifying offer to starter Ubaldo Jimenez, says Jordan Bastian of MLB.com. Echoing other recent reports, Bastian says that the team would like to retain him on a one-year deal in the QO range, but will not be interested if his price tag approaches the $35MM given the similarly situated Tim Lincecum. While opinions have varied as to whether Lincecum's deal will have a real impact on the open market, it could have a fairly direct bearing on Jimenez since it takes one competitor out of the free agent supply.
  • Bastian also opines that the Indians will most likely shop for a mid-tier rotation piece while aiming to extend Justin Masterson. MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth recently previewed the Tribe's offseason, discussing the internal rotation options and noting that the club could well need a replacement for Jimenez.
  • Brad Ausmus has interviewed for the Tigers' managerial opening, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports via Twitter. For more details, see this article from John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.

AL Notes: Napoli, Abreu, McClendon, Orioles

Figures such as John Farrell of the Red Sox and new Reds manager Bryan Price have altered the debate on whether pitching coaches make good managers, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe writes. Cafardo says names such as Greg Maddux and Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves could surface as candidates for openings in the future as pitching becomes a larger part of the game. Let's take a look at the latest from around the American League:

  • Within the same article, Cafardo quotes an anonymous general manager who says he expects a team to offer Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli a three-year contract. Boston would prefer to give Napoli a short-term deal, Cafardo says. However, they'll enter the offseason needing a first baseman after missing out on Jose Dariel Abreu.
  • The Indians were never close to offering Abreu a deal in the same range as the one he got from the White Sox, Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer writes in response to a reader question.
  • Jake Peavy took the hill in Game 3 tonight for the Red Sox, but as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald notes, he nearly became a Cardinal earlier this season. St. Louis was involved in talks with the White Sox at the deadline for Peavy, who was eventually shipped to Boston as part of a three-team trade. Peavy tells Lauber he's happy with the way things turned out.
  • Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon says he'll interview for the Mariners' manager job, MLive.com's Chris Iott writes. That confirms an earlier report by Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. McClendon has already interviewed for the Tigers' manager opening. 
  • The Orioles' No. 1 priority this winter will be improving the starting rotation, but Executive Vice President Dan Duquette won't make a big commitment in free agency or trade top prospects to do so, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports.

NL Notes: Beltran, La Russa, Rockies

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis offers his thoughts on this year's World Series contenders in a special piece for the Los Angeles Times. In the article, Ellis breaks down the Dodgers' loss to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series, as well as the approaches of the St. Louis and Boston offenses. More Saturday night National League links:

  • Congratulations to the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran, who was presented with the Roberto Clemente Award earlier this evening for his contributions on and off the field. As Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes, the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, the high school that the outfielder established in Puerto Rico, has graduated its first class of students.
  • Many of the players that Tony La Russa led to a World Series victory in 2011 as manager of the Cardinals are no longer with the team, but La Russa says that the organizational culture remains unchanged. The team is “set up real well for the next three to four years," he comments in an article by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. La Russa also offers praise for current Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny and his thoughts on the role of the manager in today's game.
  • Sources tell Troy Renck of The Denver Post that the Rockies bid as much as $63MM for Jose Dariel Abreu, who eventually signed with the White Sox for $68MM over six years. Renck says the revelation that the Rockies are willing to go as high as $10MM annually for a player is an "intriguing development" and notes that the club is expected to sift through possibilities in the outfield and at first base. The Rockies also appear to ready to listen to offers for Dexter Fowler, Renck writes.

 



Quick Hits: Rockies, Abreu, Tigers, Dodgers

The Rockies placed multiple bids on Jose Dariel Abreu and while its not known how close they came to matching the White Sox's six-year, $68MM offer, it gives an interesting window into their offseason intentions, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post.  Abreu might have been out of their price range, but a hitter like free agent Justin Morneau, who is on their radar, wouldn't be.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • Now that their 2013 season is over, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) offers some suggestions for how the Tigers can take the next step forward this winter.  The first step will be addressing some tough questions with free agents including Joaquin Benoit and Jhonny Peralta, who says that he'd like to return to Detroit.
  • An international scout from the National League said the price paid for Abreu seems a little steep, write Colleen Kane and Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune.  Meanwhile, the White Sox like that they don't have to give up draft picks as they might for a major league free agent or prospects in a trade.
  • It was reported that MLB is looking into Magic Johnson's comments that the Dodgers won't pursue free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets that they aren't viewing it too harshly.  Had the comments been made by Stan Kasten or someone in baseball operations, it'd be a different story.
  • The Red Sox's success this year is a reminder that, sometimes, finding the right fits for your team is more important than star power, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

Cafardo On Tigers, Sandoval, La Russa, Blue Jays

After the Tigers were knocked out of the playoffs, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at some of the club's flaws.  He starts at the top of the lineup, where Austin Jackson's .337 on-base percentage and eight stolen bases were not good enough of a contrast to the slow, power-hitting lineup that produced the best offense in baseball.  Possible solutions this winter include Scott Boras clients Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury.  “That’s the one team we haven’t heard Ellsbury’s name mentioned with,” said one American League GM. “We’ve heard a lot about the Mets, Mariners, Rangers, but the Tigers make perfect sense. They are a big-market team with big resources. There’s a relationship with Scott and Mr. Ilitch. They’ve done business before and there’s no reason they can’t do business again.”  Here's more from today's column..

  • The Giants would probably listen to anyone who had interest in Pablo Sandoval, but his weight will be an issue for clubs. However, his conditioning might not totally dissuade teams given the lack of third base options available. 
  • Tony La Russa is out there, but according to a Cubs source there’s been no contact with him.  For his part, La Russa has told friends he’d rather be considered for a front office job than manage again. 
  • Two people in baseball operations with the Blue Jays indicated to Cafardo that they need two quality starting pitchers to go with Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, and R.A. Dickey.  They could take care of one of those spots by extending a qualifying offer to Josh Johnson.
  • It doesn't appear that Justin Morneau will return to the Pirates but the Orioles could make a play for him this winter as they go for another bat.  If Carlos Beltran is too pricey, Morneau could be an alternative even though the O's may prefer a right-handed bat like Mike Morse.
  • The Red Sox went pretty far in their pursuit of Jose Dariel Abreu, but ultimately they lost out to the White Sox.  It was a sensitive negotiation for Boston out of respect for pending free agent Mike Napoli, who would have been affected by an Abreu signing.
  • There’s some real talk about the possibility that the Rays could see Montreal as a real alternative if plans for a new stadium don’t work out in the Tampa area.
  • One of the reasons why Nolan Ryan parted ways with the Rangers was because of the club's decision to let bench coach Jackie Moore go.
  • The Yankees appear to be on the verge of shaking up their scouting and player development departments.

Chicago Links: Abreu, Peavy, Martinez, Renteria

The White Sox made one of the first big strikes of the offseason when they agreed to sign Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68MM deal.  We've already collected some reaction to the Abreu signing and heard what it could mean for Paul Konerko's future with the Sox, so let's expand our look at the Windy City's baseball news to include the latest on the Cubs…

  • "Depending on what is considered major," Abreu's signing will probably be the only major White Sox free agent move of the offseason, MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes.  The Sox could still make further moves via trades, as Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham have drawn some interest from other teams.
  • Also from Merkin, GM Rick Hahn goes into detail about how the three-team trade from last July between the White Sox, Red Sox and Tigers developed.  Chicago got an important piece for the future in Avisail Garcia while the deal is currently having a big impact on the ALCS, with Jake Peavy starting for Boston and Jose Iglesias starting at shortstop for Detroit.
  • Jim Thome won't be the next White Sox hitting coach, Hahn told reporters (including CSN Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis) during a conference call today.  Still, Hahn praised Thome's work as a special assistant to the GM and predicted he would become a coach in the future.
  • An NL executive tells Peter Gammons that while the White Sox may have overpaid for Abreu, they have "one of the half-dozen thinnest farm systems in the game and Abreu doesn’t cost them a draft choice."  Gammons also hears mixed reviews of Abreu from a scout and a general manager, though the GM's team still offered Abreu $40MM.
  • Rays bench coach Dave Martinez interviewed with the Cubs today about their managerial opening and now the club will move onto the next step of its hiring process, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports.  Martinez joins Manny Acta, A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria as contenders for the job, and while Renteria just underwent hip surgery, he is still "considered a very strong candidate."
  • The Cubs would prefer to hire a bilingual manager since they have so many important Latin American prospects, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter links).  Speaking Spanish isn't "a must" but it could be a tiebreaker if the Cubs are weighing equal candidates.  Hinch is the only one of the four who doesn't speak Spanish, though the Cubs could still hire him to manage and hire Spanish-speaking coaches instead.
  • CSN Chicago's Dave Kaplan spoke to several sources around the game about the four candidates.  Martinez is seen as the clear best choice, Renteria was praised though there were some doubts about him as a first-time manager, Acta's unsuccessful stints managing the Indians and Nationals are strikes against him and Hinch drew scathing reviews.  Kaplan, for his part, thinks the Cubs should hire Brad Ausmus.

NL East Notes: Mets, Abreu, Marlins, Nats, Baker

The Mets were said to be intrigued by Jose Dariel Abreu's power but ultimately, they weren't one of the finalists for him and they weren't the team to sign him.  Why didn't GM Sandy Alderson take the plunge?  The Mets figure that they have first base covered between Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, and Josh Satin with possible support from Daniel Murphy and Wilmer Flores, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  The Mets weren't the only team in their division intrigued by the Serie Nacional star, however.  Here's more out of the NL East..

  • The Marlins were among the finalists for the Cuban slugger, but they bowed out of the bidding when it went north of $60MM, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.  The Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Giants were also said to be among the clubs in the mix this week.
  • The Nationals had interest in Abreu, but the dollar amount got "crazy" in their view, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link). 
  • Dusty Baker isn't expected to be a candidate for the Nationals' managerial job, Kilgore tweets.  Baker contacted GM Mike Rizzo last week about his interest in the position but there doesn't seem to be any interest on Washington's end.
  • A talent evaluator with knowledge of the Nationals' manager search tells ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter link) that he would be shocked if Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams isn't hired.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren recognizes that he needs to add experience to his rotation, writes MLB.com's Mark Bowman.  Atlanta considered making a play for Jake Peavy at the trade deadline but those thoughts quickly fizzled when it became apparent that they didn't have the pieces necessary to close that deal.

Reactions To Jose Dariel Abreu Signing With White Sox

Last night, the White Sox signed Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68MM deal – the largest ever for an international free agent and the most lucrative deal for any White Sox player in club history.  Abreu turned heads in his showcases for clubs earlier this month and had serious interest from the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, Marlins, and Giants.  Here's a look at the latest reactions to the deal..

  • Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links) that bidding for Abreu was fast and furious with four clubs bidding between $63MM and $66M.  It's not known which four teams put those bids down, but the White Sox’s winning bid of $68MM wasn't excessive.
  • While Abreu’s power is impressive, scouts are split over whether his power will translate against major league pitching, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Some consider his bat speed is just average and he appears vulnerable to good fastballs on the inner third of the plate.  The first baseman lacks the athleticism of fellow Cuban stars Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig.
  • The scouting consensus is that Masahiro Tanaka is better than Abreu and the total price tag for the Japanese hurler should be going up, tweets Badler.  
  • While some are up in arms about Abreu's price tag, Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors (via Twitter) notes that there is plenty chance for Abreu to be something between boom or bust at $11.3MM annually.
  • It’s interesting that the White Sox signed Abreu to a hefty deal without having publicly disclosed future of first baseman Paul Konerko yet, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd).  It's possible the veteran has already indicated that he will probably retire or maybe the White Sox determined that Abreu is the first baseman of the future, no matter what.  

Jose Dariel Abreu Down To Astros, Red Sox, White Sox

Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu has narrowed his list of possible destinations to the Astros, Red Sox, and White Sox, multiple industry sources tell Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.  The standout first baseman could sign within the next two weeks.

The Rangers, Giants, and Marlins were also showing strong interest in Abreu along the way but are no longer in the running.  ESPN's Buster Olney reported yesterday that the 26-year-old is expected to command a deal in the range of $70MM.  Such a deal would shatter the four-year, $36MM contract signed by Yoenis Cespedes and the seven-year, $42MM pact signed by Yasiel Puig.

Recently, Tim Dierkes profiled Abreu and noted that because he is looked at as an "all bat" prospect, it would make sense for him to wind up in the American League.  Now, barring something unforeseen, the former Serie Nacional star will call the AL his home in 2014.


White Sox, Astros, Rangers Considered Front-Runners For Abreu

Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu's name continues to generate buzz. The latest, courtesy of ESPN's Buster Olney, is that the Rangers, White Sox and Astros have emerged as the front-runners to sign the 26-year-old, and his price tag is expected to be around $70MM (Twitter link).

In yesterday's free agent profile of Abreu, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that a six-year, $54MM contract would be required to sign him. Previous reports have indicated that he could cost as much as $60MM, but Olney's report pegs him significantly higher. Such a commitment would shatter the four-year, $36MM contract signed by Yoenis Cespedes and the seven-year, $42MM contract signed by Yasiel Puig. The success of that pairing could be a contributing factor to Abreu's lofty price tag.

As Tim noted in Abreu's profile, Abreu is viewed by many as an "all bat" player, with his first base defense being somewhat questionable. As such, it makes sense that three American League teams are seen as the favorites; each would have the luxury of giving him some at-bats at DH to mitigate that potential weakness.

In addition to Texas, Chicago and Houston, the Marlins are expected to be big players for Abreu. Earlier in the month, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported that the Fish are "all-in" on trying to sign Abreu, who, along with Jose Fernandez, would give Miami an appealing Cuban pairing to market to their fanbase.