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.