The Jose Dariel Abreu sweepstakes is officially over.
The slugging Cuban first basemen has found a home with the Chicago White Sox to the tune of $68 Million over a 6 year deal. This is the largest contract signed by any international free agent in Major League Baseball history. Trumping the likes of Yu Darvish, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman.
Abreu will turn 27 in January and he has the makings to become an all star caliber first basemen. Some scouts have shown concern with his bat speed transitioning to MLB pitching and ability to play the position at a premium but his ceiling possibly being worth the cost and some. But a guy who is basically averaging a batting average of .400 and from the ’09-’10 season to ’11-’12 season has belted 98 home runs, the White Sox feel that the reward may be worth the risk. I completely agree.
Surprised by the Chicago White Sox decision to ink the slugger? Not at all. With Paul Konerko a free agent and coming off his worst season they have a need at the position. The White Sox have a lack luster farm system and have the desire to turn things around quickly this upcoming season, it comes as no surprise that they were after Abreu.
It has been reported that the Astros, Red Sox, Rangers, Giants and Marlins were all teams in the mix for the Cuban free agent right before he landed with the White Sox. Time will tell what the outcome will be for Jose Dariel Abreu but spring training is already looking quite exciting.
It’s no doubt the Miami Marlins are having one of their worst seasons in franchise history. Coming into this season expectations were low. After a surprising move of trading most of their veteran pieces (whom they had just signed) to the Toronto Blue Jays last season, it seems as though the backlash toward the Miami Marlins has cooled down a bit this year.
The Marlins surprised the baseball world by calling up starting pitcher and top prospect, Jose Fernandez earlier this season. Many people in the industry thought the Marlins were crazy for calling up the young righty, myself included. But Fernandez continues to shine bright like a diamond and through 18 starts he’s posted a strikeout per inning and boasts a 2.75 ERA. The kid is about to turn 21 years old and hasn’t even pitched past the A+ level. Oh yeah, and he made his first all star game appearance at Citi Field. The Marlins have a rock, no.. a boulder anchoring this pitching staff for years to come.
Their offense though? The Marlins rank dead last in runs scored, last in total hits, last in doubles, last in home runs, last in total bases, last in runs batted in, and last in average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. Last in every offensive category except triples. The only guy they really can count on is their stud, Giancarlo Stanton and he’s off to a terrible start, granted he missed some time with injury earlier this season.
Solution? Call up 2 top prospects in Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick and hope they can get this lineup going. Yelich is arguably their best prospect overall after Fernandez being called up and Marisnick is their best athletic player in the system who has shown he can hita bit. Baseball America ranks Yelich 15th best prospect in MLB coming into the season and Marisnick ranked the 64th best prospect on that list.
Both coming up from AA Jacksonville, Yelich has missed some time early on from injury but in 49 games he’s hitting .280/.365/.518 and he owns a .313 career minor league average. Yelich also had a nice showing in the most recent Futures Game at Citi. He’s a guy who can play great defense, hit with some pop and steal a few bases. He’ll most likely patrol center for the fish. Just a complete player overall and the fans will go bananas.
Marisnick, is a third round pick in 2009. Coming over from the trade with the Blue Jays, is hitting .294/.358/.502 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 67 games this year. He’ll likely play in left field.
Both players are big bodied outfielders with high ceilings who have a chance to bring a little something to the struggling Miami Marlins offense who is in desperate need for some kind of anything to get them going. I really like the move to bring both of these players up and Miami shows no fear of starting young prospects service time in the majors, which I love.