The Jose Dariel Abreu sweepstakes is officially underway.
Abreu, who recently established residency in Haiti after defecting from Cuba earlier this year, has been cleared for free agency and is free to sign with any MLB team, according to multiple reports. CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam reports that Abreu — a 26-year-old first baseman with tremendous power — recently worked out for the Red Sox at the team’s development complex in the Dominican Republic.
The Red Sox have been linked to Abreu in recent months. The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham reported in August that the Red Sox were “certainly interested” in the Cuban slugger, and Dionisio Soldevila of ESPNDeportes.com reported a few weeks ago that Boston was among the teams scouting Abreu in the Dominican. Now, Abreu is officially a free agent, which means that teams could start to become more aggressive in their pursuit.
The Red Sox have been viewed as one of the favorites to land Abreu, but McAdam reports that a source indicated that it’s far too early to determine a front-runner.
“The process has just begun,” the source told McAdam. “That’s very premature.”
Abreu, who is listed at 6-for-3 and 250 pounds, presents a very intriguing option for a team looking to add right-handed power. He hit .382 with 13 home runs and a 1.270 OPS in 42 games this season after hitting .394 with 35 homers and a 1.379 OPS in 71 games last season while playing in Cuba.
Abreu’s biggest asset is his bat, as he isn’t considered to be much of a defender down at first base. There’s talk that he could someday shift into a designated hitter role.
McAdam notes that the Giants, Orioles and Mets are among the other teams believed to be interested in Abreu. A bidding war could be forthcoming.