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Pirates Named as a Team That Could Sign Jose Abreu

Ben Badler of Baseball America released a list of five teams who could be candidates to sign top Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu this off-season. Abreu was recently rumored to be declared a free agent, making him eligible to sign with any team. One of the five teams mentioned was Pittsburgh.

Badler made a lot of the same points I’ve been making with Abreu. The Pirates don’t have a lot of needs this off-season, but one need is at first base. Justin Morneau will be a free agent at the end of the year, and Garrett Jones/Gaby Sanchez isn’t a long-term solution. The Pirates also don’t have a long-term solution in the farm system who is ready now. They also have a big bump in revenue from the playoffs, their attendance from this winning season, and the national TV revenue, which could allow them to go after a big name free agent.

Badler brings up a few different points as well. He notes that the Pirates have signed Cuban players in the past, and have been in on guys like Dayan Viciedo. He also says that Abreu looks like a riskier bet than other free agents, which could work out well for the Pirates. A major league team looking for a first baseman might be more inclined to go after Mike Napoli, Kendrys Morales, or even Corey Hart, since they’ve had success in the majors. That could provide less competition for the Pirates to go with a higher risk but potentially higher reward option.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • elgaupo

    Neal has taken advantage of every loophole and market inefficiency since he took over as GM. Cuban free agents are one of the last inefficiencies (i.e. the fact that they don’t count against your draft budget). That’s the only reason I think he’d consider it.

    • tom2125

      Depending on the cost, could be another big free agent pick up. Beats having the gabby/ morneau or jones platoon at 9 plus million.

      • DarkPhenix

        Even if Neal signs him, Bucs still need an option at 1st base next year. Abreu would start the season in the minors, perhaps at the double or triple A level, but in the minors no less. “Best” case, he’s a mid-season call up, but I have a feeling the front office would want to give him some time to acclimate to the system and to American ball.

        • Tim Williams

          Cespedes was 26 and started in the majors from day one. I think Abreu will do the same.

  • CalipariFan506

    If we make a play let’s just hope the scouts have done their work on him. The Pirates cannot afford to give him the contract he’ll garner if he can’t play. IMO there is a big question mark surrounding him or any Cuban/Japanese free agent.

    • leefoo

      Calipari…that is my fear, also. If he is a bust, then all those $$$ are sunken costs unless we can trade him.

      I think about all that money the Reds are paying for a Cuban Closer. If we had signed Chapman, would we have gotten Martin, Liriano, etc.?


      • emjayinTN

        foo: Excellent points, and the Pirates have managed to have very successful “bargain basement” Closers each year since non-tendering Capps. Black and Welker were excess baggage due to the success of Grilli, Melancon, Watson, and Wilson. Do we want a RH hitting 1B who one scout describes as “serviceable” on defense? Others think he has “slider power”, “cannot run – a base clogger”, and cannot play any other position on the field. One scout described Abreu as having Gaby Sanchez-type power. This sounds like a guy you sign cheap and hope for the best – not $8, $9, or $10 mil a year long term.

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