Mets will not be interested in pursuing Cuban defector Jose Abreu, he will certainly be under contract by a Major League team by the start of spring training next season. He'll draw the interest of quite a few clubs looking to fill offensive holes with his power. But what are the risks? And how much can we learn about from players who have defected from Cuba before they play in even minor league games?
Abreu, 27, held a showcase for scouts and teams in the Dominican Republic last week. According to the NYDN, Abreu will be seeking a contract in the six year range, at around ten million a year. That's going to be a big commitment for whomever he signs with. While their is more to go on than his showcase (Abreu spent a lot of his career playing with the Cuban national team, including at the 2013 WBC), and he did torch the Cuban league while he played, it is a little bit of an unknown how he will fair when he hits the MLB.
Signing Cuban defectors has been a spotty, hit-or-miss scenario for Major League teams. It's easy to remember the successes: think Yasiel Puig most recently, Yoenis Céspedes and Aroldis Chapman in just the last few years. Also of note are some of the better players of the last few decades, including Orlando and Livan Hernandez. However, on the same list of defectors you'll find quite a few players who had poor MLB careers, and many who never progressed past the minors.
All I'm saying is, yes, the Mets should be looking for a power bat. There is going to be some consternation among the fan base that they won't be seriously pursuing Abreu, but I'm okay with that. I know he dominated the Cuban league unlike many others have done, but if Sa
ndy is going to crack the checkbook open this winter, I'd much rather see it be for a smaller risk.