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.
Every team needs a hug once and a while, right? A series of breakups followed the 2012 season for the Texas Rangers which include Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Mike Adams, and Koji Uehara. While their hitting still remains pretty potent and good, it wont be the quite the same as a few years past. Texas will need to rely more on their pitching this season and to me, their starting pitching is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. Okay, it’s not that bad but it has some loose ends. So maybe a late signing of Kyle Lohse wouldn’t be such a bad idea? It’s been reported that Martin Perez had been stuck by a line drive that fractured his left forearm. He wont be able to resume throwing for the next 4 weeks. Here’s how their rotation shakes out.
The obvious number one here is Yu Darvish. Followed by Matt Harrison and Derek Holland who try to repeat past successes. Even though the Rangers lost bullpen arms in Adams and Uehara to free agency, they plan to make Alexi Ogando a number four starter. Alexi has been successful in the past as a starter but really only has two fantastic pitches in his hard fastball and hard slider. He has thrown a changeup in the past, just not that often. Can he harness it this spring? I’d love to see him stick in the pen . Don’t forget Texas still has Colby Lewis who won’t be back until around mid-May recovering from a torn flexor tendon.
Now who will round out their rotation? Now with Perez out, possible in house candidates are Robbie Ross, Justin Grimm, and spring training invitee Kyle McClellan. To me this just isn’t enough. Not if the boys in blue want to keep up with the much improved Los Angeles Angels and the young scrappy Division winning, Oakland Athletics.
Enter Kyle Lohse, who patiently waits by the phone for some team to call. He had a career year last year pitching to the tune of a 16-3 record, a 2.86 ERA, 143 K’s and only walking 38 in 211 innings with the Cardinals. If the Rangers can even sign him to a 1 or 2 year deal, chalk it up as a win. A veteran presence like Kyle’s will boast a thin starting pitching staff. An opportunity like this doesn’t just fall in your lap.
Kyle Lohse will have a better year than Ryan Dempster.
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