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cubaIn the pantheon of recent Cuban baseball stars, there is one name you should really know, regardless of any connection to Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs: Jose Abreu.

The 26-year-old first baseman has been putting up in Cuba the kinds of numbers Barry Bonds was putting up when he could no longer fit in a regular sized hat. So prolific has been Abreu’s performance that Jonah Keri, writing last year at Grantland, wondered if Abreu might be the best hitter in the world. The numbers are stupid, even for Cuba: .453/.597/.986 in 2010-11, .394/.542/.837 in 2011-12, and .382/.535/.735 in 2012-13 (ooh, but I see a downward trend!). If Yoennis Cespedes’ defection and free agency were a hype train, Abreu’s would probably be a hype aircraft carrier – especially since it come come on the heels of Cespedes and Yasiel Puig raising the bar for Cuban performances in MLB. Expectations would be enormous, and thus the hype redoubled.

And we might be getting ready to land some fighter jets. According to reports out of Latin America, Abreu recently escaped Cuba, and Baseball America reports this morning that Abreu is indeed intending to defect so that he can sign with an MLB team.

The time line on Abreu’s actual arrival in MLB is difficult to predict, given the necessary steps of establishing residency (after successfully fleeing, that is), achieving free agent status from MLB, and being unblocked by the U.S. Government. Depending on how things play out, we’ve seen this process take as long as six months, or as little as a month or two. Presumably, Abreu would like to be available for teams to sign this offseason – and preferably early in the free agent period so that the maximum number of bidders are available – so we’ll see if things move relatively quickly over the next couple of months.

Other than the long process involved, there’s another big reason for you, dear reader, to pump the brakes on your personal excitement: Abreu is a first baseman. Although he’s got a huge bat that the Cubs could use, and he represents an external market piece that a team like the Cubs should theoretically be into signing, the Cubs are not going to sign a huge money first baseman right now, with Anthony Rizzo developing and under long-term, team-friendly control. Abreu is a big dude, and I’m not going to pretend to know whether he could passably play a corner outfield spot in the big leagues (Ben Badler says he’s a first base/DH-only type of guy). If he could, I’d argue that investing big money in a top corner outfield bat is a pretty good idea for the Cubs in the near-term, but that’s a different discussion for a different day. Regardless, I’m not sure Abreu is that guy.

How much Abreu gets will be very interesting to follow, as he will impact the free agent market regardless of whether the Cubs pursue him. Organizations will have to determine whether they believe his bat can play in the big leagues – and at what level – and where he fits into their long-term needs. Even at $50 to $70 million (which would be the largest contract given to a Cuban defector, topping the seven years and $42 million Yasiel Puig got from the Dodgers), there’s a huge amount of risk involved with a guy who has never played in MLB. That Cespedes and Puig have had success doesn’t hurt, but every player is different.

At bottom, I don’t expect the Cubs to be major players on Abreu, if and when he reaches free agency, but he will be a huge story this offseason, and could easily impact the market for other players (which would, in turn, affect the Cubs). I will be following his story closely.

UPDATE: Dionisio Soldevila reports that Abreu is now in Haiti.

  • X the Cubs Fan

    That happened to all the Cuban pitchers that defected earlier this season?

  • X the Cubs Fan

    Also if he is as good offensively as his stats suggest we’ll make it work.

  • jh03

    I’ve heard a lot of rumbling about how if the MLB plans to give the NL a DH, they need to let them know a few years in advance, so teams can prepare accordingly. This would be a wonderful time to find out if the NL will adopt the DH in 2015…

    So, if it was annoucned the NL would adopt the DH in 2015, would you guys want to sign him? Willing to take him for a year and let him hit at AAA or somehow try to manage to get him enough MLB AB’s, while paying him a ton of money?

    • gocatsgo2003

      So, assuming the Puig contract as a minimum, you’re looking at paying a guy somewhere between $6MM and $8MM (and potentially a lot more) annually to either (i) hit at AAA for two or three years or (ii) get maybe 250 PAs off the bench as a pinch hitter/spot starter/DH while taking away those PAs from one of your better young hitters in Rizzo?

      Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either way.

      • jh03

        I said for one year… not “two or three years.” And I’m not saying either way. I’m simply asking a question.

        • gocatsgo2003

          But “one year” doesn’t match up with the timeline of the NL getting the DH in 2015…

          • On The Farm

            If they add the DH in 2015 there is only one season (2014) he would spend in AAA since he won’t be available to sign for at least a month, most likely longer…

          • jh03

            Huh? He will sign to play for the 2014 season. DH is installed in 2015. That’s one year.

            Once again… I’m not saying to do it.. just want the scenerio to be correct.

          • CubbiesOHCubbies

            Really???? It doesn’t????? I’m no math major but if next season is the 2014 season wouldn’t 1 season later be the 2015 season????? That seems like one year in AAA to me. How bout you????

            • BT

              I work in IT. If you check underneath the ? key on your computer, you might find a staple or something other foreign object stuck in there. Simply turn the keyboard over, and give it a shake, or try blowing some compressed air into it. That should take care of the problem, and you will no longer have 4 question marks appear every time you try to type just one.

        • MichiganGoat

          I ask questions
          [img]http://southparkstudios.mtvnimages.com/images/shows/southpark/vertical_video/season_13/sp_1313_clip03.jpg[/img]

          • jh03

            lol, nice.

            • MichiganGoat

              Couldn’t resist buddy you walk right into that one.

              • jh03

                I totally deserved it haha. It was funny and very well played, on your part.

      • Frank

        I seem to remember Jorge Soler is making a little more that $7.50 an hour. Something like 9 years-30ish million and he’s in Daytona. (yes he’s injured)

      • Gutshot5820

        Probably more that that for one of the best Cuban hitter ever in his prime. IMO, it’s going to take 10-12M minimum at multiple years . Not saying he is worth that much, just my feeling that the bidding is going to get ridiculous. There are a lot of teams out there that could use that kind of hitter with the only cost being money. Abreu could easily outperform that type of contract.

  • Jon

    If the Cubs aren’t major players, that’s a damn shame.

    • gocatsgo2003

      And put him where, exactly?

      • Jon

        In the lineup.

        • gocatsgo2003

          Instead of… who exactly?

          • Jon

            That’s not really relevant at this point.

            • gocatsgo2003

              How could it not be relevant? If you’re going to sign a guy to a big-money contract, he had better have the opportunity to play pretty much every day.

              • X the Cubs Fan

                If we put him in left I bet he wouldn’t be as bad Soriano was back when he still had the hop.

              • ssckelley

                I agree with Jon, it is irrelevant where you play Abreu. Get him signed first then worry about it.

                • Jim Gillmeister

                  This FO is all about getting assets. If you sign this guy to play 1B, you trade your young cost-controlled asset for other assets. I like Rizzo, but he’s an asset, and can be moved for other assets. I don’t see Rizzo the one piece you must build around.

    • Patrick G

      The guy is 6’2” 260 lbs, if he’s not playing first, he’s not playing. With Rizzo, I don’t see it happening

      • josh ruiter

        dude is 6’3″ 240 on the prospect listing from 2013. by comparison, Puig is 6’3″ 245. probably not as athletic or swift, but just saying, dude is not that big, he has gotta be able to learn LF

        • Patrick G

          I thought I read somewhere he was 260 but I could be wrong and Puig is a freak of nature

  • CubFan Paul

    That’s a special bat. I’d make the exception.

  • cerambam

    And this is where it starts.

  • Jon

    Anthony Rizzo’s contract is friendly also in the sense that it doesn’t include a Hendry Special(“atta boy”)no trade clause. At any point, if you don’t think he’s going to fill into that 5-6 Win firstbaseman you need then you can move it. In this new landscape of baseball, 26 year old studs don’t come on the market often, at 26. Again, get that talent and sort it out later.

    • CubFan Paul

      Agreed. Slugging first basemen make $22M plus on the open market. This guy coming from Cuba probably won’t get HALF that. Theo&Co should be all in, if they believe in the bat.

    • jaslhill

      I think this is much more likely. If they really like Abreu I don’t see why they would consider signing him and trading Rizzo along with his “upside” and very team-friendly contract.

    • jh03

      I’m going to play devils advocate… What if they trade Rizzo and this guy flops? That’s entirely possible.. That’s a huge hit on the Cubs longterm plans. Is it worth the gamble?

      • ssckelley

        Or how about if they don’t sign Abreu, he becomes an all star for another team while Rizzo flops?

      • bleeds cubbie blue

        well Rizzo isn’t exactly setting the world on fire

    • Kevin

      +1

      • Kevin

        That was a reply to jaslhill, not jh03.

    • BT

      Exactly. Drop the 70 plus million, THEN figure out if the guy is any good and if we have anywhere to play him. It’s the only responsible way to run a franchise. Because Puig’s been good for 2 months, all subsequent defectors will be AWESOME!

  • ruby2626

    Never mind if he can play the OF, can Rizzo play it? Tons of first basemen have been able to move to the OF, he’s athletic enough I have no doubt he would eventually be an average to above average defender out in left. If the Cuban comes here and is good then the other obvious option is to trade Rizzo for some pitching. Let’s be honest with the season Rizzo has had we are no longer certain he is the starting first baseman on a team that’s has World Series aspirations, albeit 5 years from now. Cubs should have a ton of money coming there way in the reasonably short term with the renegotiation of the WGN portion of the TV contract and the new scoreboards and signs what better way to make a splash.

    • On The Farm

      “Let’s be honest with the season Rizzo has had we are no longer certain he is the starting first baseman on a team that’s has World Series aspirations”

      Really? If we are being honest I think you are way wrong on this statement.

    • FullCountTommy

      And besides his low batting average due in part to a very low BABIP, how would you say Rizzo’s season has gone?? I think he has been pretty dang good

      • Kevin

        On the field I’d agree 100%, as a batter, not so much.

        • On The Farm

          And why do you say that?

        • FullCountTommy

          Exactly, dig deeper into his stats. All the numbers like wOBA, OPS, OPS+ are similar to last year, the ISO is much higher and his BB and XBH % are way up, while the strikeout rate is only slightly up. 50% of Rizzo’s hits are for extra bases, while his strikeout rate is below league average, what more do you want from your slugging first baseman

          • On The Farm

            A good batting average I guess

            • Cubbie Blues

              You will get a good AVG when his BABIP starts regressing.

            • MichiganGoat

              That the problem too many people see, baseball fans have incorrectly learned from baseball cards that BA is the best measurement for offensive success. Hitting below .270 causes many people to think a player is bad offensively.

              • Mr. B. Patient

                Yes or No.
                Would Rizzo have more RBI (which means the team would have scored more runs) if his BA was higher?

                Yes or No.
                Do we know if Rizzo’s ‘normal’ BABIP is the 2011 one, or the 2012 one, or the 2013 one?

                Yes or No.
                Do we know if Rizzo’s better ISO is due to a lower avg?

                • hansman1982

                  I’ll answer your questions this way:

                  If Rizzo had his 2012 singles rate to go along with this year’s XBH%, he’d have an OPS over .900.

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    What about these numbers? Not Rizzo’s. Would you say these are pretty good numbers?

                    G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K%
                    153 606 28 72 80 2 16.7 % 26.6 %
                    ISO BABIP OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
                    .237 .267 .357 .462 .356 121 -0.4 -1.9 2.2

                    • hansman1982

                      Who’s are those? Outside of the K rate, they are pretty good (although, those better be MLB stats or else that K rate is going to get worrisome).

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Our 2011 1st baseman.

                    • Edwin

                      2011 Carlos Pena.

                    • hansman1982

                      Dangit, and I had just looked at his numbers the other day.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      His stats are almost perfect to show that AVG isn’t what people think it is. If only he didn’t have that K rate. As long as you have a good batters eye and can make enough contact with power and take your walks you can have a near AS year every year.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Just look at Juan Pierre to see how BA does not indicate greatness. Rizzo is out producing his OPS even while Pierre was hitting .290+

                  • Mr. B. Patient

                    That did not answer one of my questions.

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      Actually, he did, as did I. We just didn’t do it in the way you had laid out.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      They did answer them but the fact you tried to use RBI to measure success tells me that baseball card stats are what’s important to you.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  I would also say that Rizzo’s BABIP is probably closer to his career avg of .273.

                • hansman1982

                  I’ll play along:

                  The answer to all of your questions is Yes. Now, can you figure out what this answer means?

                  • Mr. B. Patient

                    Actually, I don’t really know what it means. That’s the point. We just don’t know.

                    To MichiganGoat (the reply button isn’t showing on your last comment). It is a favorite criticism of yours to use the baseball card stat argument. Try something new. Baseball card stats, taken as a whole are still part of the game. if you ONLY look at one stat, you are missing the whole picture. I haven’t seen anyone deny that.

                    For example: You hate RBI. Well, baseball games are won by scoring more runs than the other team. Most runs (a really high percentage) come from the RBI, thus the RBI is important. If you want to say comparing Miggy’s RBI total to Rizzo’s RBI total is not a good comparison because of the teams they are on, you would be correct. But to totally discount the importance of the RBI doesn’t seem to make sense to me.
                    The fact of the matter is, the Cubs will win more games when they have more RBI, thus scoring more runs. Is this statement wrong?

                    • Cubbie Blues

                      RBIs should never be spoken of again. Ever. That is how bad the RBI stat is when talking about an individual player. The player can’t put someone on in front of him. If they play on a team with a poor OBP then that player is going to have a low RBI total.

              • tbone

                Good periferals from Rizzo this year and he is really in the midst of refining his approach. I don’t think he is much of a risk to flop going forward. Also plus defense. Don’t know much about the Cuban kid but I doubt he would be anywhere near the defensive equal of Rizzo. The D is important to the FO going forward as well as Rizzo’s improving approach. I say no thanks to Abreu.

  • gocatsgo2003

    How in the world do we know whether Abreu is indeed a “stud” once he starts regularly seeing MLB-level pitching? He’s obviously been putting up video game numbers, but by most accounts Cuban pitching is at about the high-A level. Conversely, we have a 24-year old 1B who has an OPS+ over 100 in his first two seasons in the MLB despite a disproportionate drop in BABip this season (.310 last year vs. .259 this year) on what is pretty much universally-regarded as a team-friendly deal.

    You’re proposing trading away a young known quantity on team-friendly deal for an expensive flyer that could fail just as easily as it could hit. I don’t think that’s a risk we should take.

    • CubFan Paul

      Your underestimating Abreu’s bat. The guy can hit (.453/.597/.986?!). His bat will translate just fine.

    • jaslhill

      I wouldn’t say they SHOULD do it … because I am not a Major League scout and don’t have access to the information like the administration does. I would just say if they do think he is going to be a great player, I COULD see them doing it; thus, getting someone they think is going to be a great player and prospects in return for Rizzo.

      From the administration’s point of view, sounds like a double win to me.

      • ETS

        I just as easily could see them not doing it because the guy will probably go for way above market value given the current hype around cuban imports; on the other hand, you just don’t see high level 26 year old FAs.

        I mean, there are a lot of, um, facets to this, a lot of interested parties.

  • Jon

    “That Puig has been feasting on weak Cuban pitching, his numbers aren’t legit”

    • mjhurdle

      Can we wait at least a full year before using Puig as an example of a player that has successfully transitioned from Cuba to the MLB?
      Not saying Puig won’t keep it up, but part of the issue here is going to be the length of the contract, so getting one amazing year followed by more mediocre ones doesn’t make it a great deal.
      Look at Cespedes and his struggles in his second full year.

      • Jon

        The Puig hate here cracks me up. He’s very good. Accept it.

        • ETS

          Don’t hate him; also, don’t think he is an mvp.

          • Mr. Mac

            I think the “hate” comes from ESPN, adn others, force feeding him to us like he is the only player on the field in games that he plays in.

        • mjhurdle

          How is that “Puig hate”?

      • ETS

        No we can’t wait because his 475 babip is completely sustainable!!!! /s

        • Jon

          Notch down his BAPIP and his numbers are still great. Not to mention he’ s a great defender and has the best outfield arm in the game.

          • RynoRooter

            No. No they are not. Take his BABIP down to the standard of .300, and he’s looking at a .700 OPS.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            Notch down to what, .340?

            241/307/463
            770 OPS

            • bbmoney

              I will note there isn’t a 1% to 1% correlation between drop and BABIP and drop in actual batting average, so this triple slash line isn’t quite right….but it is directionally correct of course.

              • bbmoney

                For instance if you have 200 ABs but only put 150 into play (say 40ks and 10 HRs).

                If you had a .300 BABIP you’d be hitting .275

                If you had a .400 BABIP you’d be hitting .350.

      • On The Farm

        “Look at Cespedes and his struggles in his second full year.”

        Yeah, but he won the HR derby so is he really struggling this year?

        • mjhurdle

          good point. i retract my statement :)

  • josh ruiter

    I tell ya what, a 6’3″ 240 lb. living cuban version of the might casey could easily play “good enough” lf to warrant that wicked stick in the lineup. Pujols esque until the DH comes or until he hits Rizzo out of a position or Rizzo develops and other youngsters to pushing Abreu. Unless we have a perennial allstar in place at 1b and LF then we damn well better be doing what we can to improve the lineup. I just read an article on here this morning saying it wasn’t the bullpen’s fault early in the year, but the fact that we didn’t score runs and now the question is where to put the best bat to ever come out of Cuba? Come on, the answer is if need be put him in place of anyone if he is that good a hitter. Gotta swing big on this FA monster.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    Nice to have you back Brett!!..any news on the Cuban shortstop??

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Diaz? Can’t sign until January.

  • ssckelley

    “Best hitter in the world” comments make me want to sign this guy at all cost if I am the Cubs FO. IMO you go after the top talent anytime the opportunity presents itself. You worry about what to do with Rizzo later.

    • Jon

      From a GrantLand piece too….they have very good writers, so I don’t chalk it up as some crazy type of hyperbole.

      BUT HEY DON’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT CAUSE WE GOT RIZZO!!!!!

      • jaslhill

        Not just Grantland, but Jonah Keri. One of the best.

      • ssckelley

        Right, the Cubs do not need elite level talent because the 40 man roster is already peppered with them.

        • X the Cubs Fan

          I pray that’s sarcasm.

  • ETS

    If Rizzo gets in the way then trade the long term, team friendly contract for pitching.

  • FullCountTommy

    I’d be surprised if the White Sox weren’t interested here. They have history with Cuban players (Alexei, Viciedo), they have a TON of money coming off of the bucks, and with Paulie likely to retire they have a sport open at first base. Just speculating here, but it makes a ton of sense

    • gutshot5820

      Abreu makes so much sense for the White Sox. They need to go all in on him at all costs if they want to remain relevant.

  • Bong Kim

    It’s a bad decision to pass him because of Rizzo. If he is one of a kind, grab him and trade Rizzo.

  • cubsin

    Abreu seems quite likely to wind up in the AL, where he could DH part-time or full-time. He doesn’t really look like a good fit for any of the NL central teams.

  • willis

    Do I expect this front office to go after him at big money…no. And neither should any of you, especially, as Brett said, because of the Rizzo love.

    Should they go after him and then play things out from there? Yes.

  • mjhurdle

    Personally, i trust this Front Office’s ability to gauge talent.
    If they agree with the assessment of this guy being one of the best hitters in the world, and that it will translate to a MLB roster, then i expect they will be all in on him.
    However, if for some reason they don’t agree with everyone that thinks that he is already a lock for the HoF, then i expect them to make a reasonable offer that will be beat out by a team that does think he is one of the best in the game.
    If the Cubs dont decide to go hard for him, i will trust that it is because they dont feel the rewards outweigh the risk, and not simply that they dont want to spend money or build a competitive team.

  • fortyonenorth

    As a former pro ballplayer, this kind of money should make Fidel finally realize that communism doesn’t work.

    • Jon

      He’s still alive?

      • fortyonenorth

        I think the Dodgers signed him to a minor league coaching contract.

  • LWeb23

    I think the DH will happen in 2015. In that case, play him in LF in 2014. We can afford to have shitty defense for one year. That works out perfectly, he fits right into our timeline. Holds an OF position for 2014, but at the same time opens one up for Soler and/or Almora in 2015. He can’t be much worse than Soriano in LF in ’07/’08, and on a team unlikely to compete, who cares.

  • Borocks

    Well let us ask this question…….With those kind of numbers what is to say he is not using? Would there be any drugs tests done before he played????

  • itzscott

    Anytime a player puts up Barry Bonds type numbers I have to wonder if that player is also on something similar to what Barry Bonds was on.

    Additionally, I’m wondering if Cuba plays by the same drug rules that MLB now does. Some of those PEDs are untraceable in the system.

  • Vince

    I know I am late on this but you guys are saying cespedes is having a bad season but you can contribute that to .babip (last year .326 and this year .257). That’s the same argument for why rizzo is not doing so hot.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Not exactly, Cespedes’ other numbers are down as well. But, to an extent you do have a point.

    • ssckelley

      I would take Cespedes in a heart beat. He would have looked good in left field with he and Rizzo hitting back to back in the Cubs lineup. Imagine the lineup earlier Rizzo, Soriano, and Cespedes hitting 3/4/5…..err…wait…aw hell no the Cubs would not want him…they have Schierholtz!!!!!! Schierholtz’s (insert saberwhatever stats here) means he is a better hitter than Cespedes.

      • Jon

        At 9-10 million a year, it’s a pretty good deal as well, given his age. He’s defiantly not a cautionary tale of Cuban free agents.

      • CubFan Paul

        All the Schierholtz love makes me want to puke.

        • mjhurdle

          why? guy is having a good year, whats wrong with liking that?

          • Kubphan82

            Some people want to be right no matter what… So when a player they didnt like does well it turns their stomach… Ha

            • CubFan Paul

              You’re exactly wrong. I liked the signing but wanted Bourn.

        • another JP

          Then be prepared to puke clear into next season. Nate will be starting in RF again for the Cubs into at least 2014.

      • TWC

        “Schierholtz’s (insert saberwhatever stats here) means he is a better hitter than Cespedes.”

        (insert the luddite’s defensive oversimplification here)

    • mjhurdle

      I would say the biggest difference for me is that, while both have lower BABIP and BAs, Rizzo is walking more and hitting more extra base hits, and Cespedes is striking out more and has less extra base hits.
      For Rizzo, it is basically only the batting average that is suffering this year, for Cespedes it is multiple categories of dropoffs.
      This does not mean that Cespedes won’t adjust and start killing the ball again, or that he is a bust.
      I was just using him as an example of how length of contract is just as important as the initial splash generated by a prospect.

    • hansman1982

      If you give Cespedes the same % of singles as he had last year and keep everything else the same, he’d be at, roughly, an .820 OPS (~113 OPS+).

  • JUICED1

    if thus guy a righty or a lefty

    • jh03

      Righty

  • JUICED1

    I’ll pass. I hear he has an annoying toe tap. sounds like sosa jr to me. our farm system is stocked with right handed power bats. we’ll probably need another lefty bat in that lineup down the road

  • ruby2626

    You guys and your stats sound like the fired GM in the movie Trouble With the Curve. Watched it last night FWIW, I thought it was a very good movie. If you’re going to dig into stats for Rizzo how about him hitting about .150 points below what he did last season with men in scoring position. Sveum himself has mentioned he is pulling everything in clutch situations and trying to hit everything out of the park. True he has a lot of doubles but if you discount his April he probably would be on pace for about a dozen home runs. Trust me nobody wants him to be a huge star more than I do, he has just been a little frustrating to watch at times this year. The way he goes to left I predicted a .300 lifetime batting average, not so sure any longer, .236 not what I imagine out of my 3 hitter.

    • mjhurdle

      if you took out April, Rizzo would be on pace for 18 HRs, and 82 rbis.
      not too bad from his first full year in the bigs.

    • On The Farm

      “but if you discount his April he probably would be on pace for about a dozen home runs”

      Can’t do that, every AB/PA counts. I HATE when people say “well if you pull out (insert timeframe here)” to somehow make their argument more valid. That is not how baseball works at all. He gets a ton of XBHs and is walking more. He is still 24 and you don’t think he has time to develop into a .300 hitter?

      • ruby2626

        If you pull out Kris Bryant’s 5 K debut he is hitting .383 with one K for every 5 times up. Bet you like that one, I know I do.

        • On The Farm

          No I don’t really care he struck out his first 5 at bats. I guess I am crazy for thinking everything that happens counts.

    • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

      .310 BABIP last year, .259 this year. He doesn’t look like he’s had a comfortable groove for more than a week or two at a time this year. I think he needs to find his “groove.” He’s a young guy and this is his first full season. I don’t think he’ll ever be a 300 hitter, though I think he could touch it a few times in his career. I imagine more of a .270-.280 yearly with 25-30 home runs and a whole lot of doubles. Put those numbers with a potential gold glove at first and you’ve got yourself an outstanding 1st baseman.

      • Kubphan82

        Are people forgetting what lineup and pressure Rizzo is under at such a young age? He’s among elite sluggers in a weak lineup. His peripherals are awesome and even his baseball card stats are pretty good. Sheesh people…

        As for Abreu, go for him. See if Rizzo can play left, an way it out until the DH comes, you may have to split time at 1B anyway when Abreu first comes in, Rizzo could use a break from time to time… You make it work if you think it’s a once in a lifetime type bat… Lefty, righty, 1B, or DH… I don’t care.

        The NL needs a DH for competitive balance in competing for free agents…

  • Gutshot5820

    Very doubtful the FO goes after this guy. The FO is a check every box, consensus no room for doubts kind of organization. But… then again they did sign Edwin Jackson so? Boy, I would much rather have taken a chance on using that kind of money on high upside players such as Cespedes, Puig or Abreu rather than giving that kind of money to a number 3-4 starter. There is just as much bust chance on a player like Edwin with no upside as there is with these high profile Cubans. At least with high upside players you have a chance at an all-star level of return.

    Then again, if someone gives Abreu a monster contract and he ends up a a bust, I reserve the right to retract my statement.

    • Kubphan82

      The money they use on Jackson has nothing to do with or any negative consequence on what they would spend On Cespedes, Puig, or Abreu…

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Castillo, Castro , Lake, Almora, Baez, Bryant, Soler, all RH hitters.
    Rizzo, Alcantara, Vogelbach LH hitters. We need more balance not less. Do not sign Abreu.

    • On The Farm

      That isn’t the best argument either, would you rather have Pujols or Cabrera in their prime, or would you pass on signing them because we need more LH batters? If you have a chance to sign an offensive juggerant it doesn’t matter what side of the plate he hits from.

      • gocatsgo2003

        … which still begs the questions of “how do we know if this guy is legitimately an offensive juggernaut?” and “how much are you willing to spend to find out whether he really is an offensive juggernaut?”

        Sure seems like the Cabrera/Pujols comparisons are a little early for a guy who has yet to take a swing in the Bigs in his lifetime.

        • On The Farm

          I didn’t say he was the next Pujols or Cabrera, I merely used them as an example. I am just pointing out it doesn’t matter if he is a RH or LH guy at the plate if he can mash the ball.

        • Edwin

          It doesn’t beg the question, it raises the question.

      • Bilbo161

        I agree. Though we would like to have balance, if the Cubs think he is that good a hitter you try to sign him to a reasonable contract and then let the play on the field sort out who we keep.

      • JUICED1

        I don’t think he is a pujols type player

        • On The Farm

          Well then I guess he is not worth the money for that reason. To say don’t sign him because he is a LH hitter is being ignorant.

    • Chad

      Do not sign Verlander or Felix Hernandez. They are right handed pitchers. We need more lefties. Just keep Rusin.

      • MichiganGoat

        Well Felix and Justin are signed for a long time so I would worry too much.

      • Bilbo161

        Good joke. Thanks

    • ssckelley

      Lou, please tell me you were being sarcastic.

      • TWC

        “We just need to get a bit more left-handed.”

      • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

        Actually no, I was not being sarcastic. Just saying balance is an important variable when constructing a roster and especially an everyday lineup. I also believe this FO is of a similar mindset. Offense, defense, pitching – both starting and bullpen need to be constructed based on talent first but with a balance of right and left handed hitters and pitchers.

        • ssckelley

          So Miguel Cabrera wants to play for the Cubs, we pass because he is a right handed hitter?

          Are you out of your flippin mind????????

          • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

            Just remember after Cabrera came to the Tigers in a trade Dombrowski their GM went out and signed a FA to hit behind him named Fielder who hits LH by the way.

    • Bwa

      Who cares! If the righties can hit righties then it doesn’t make a dofference

      • willis

        I don’t give a crap of a player is RH or LH, just someone that can hit both LH and RH pitching would be nice. Seems other than Rizzo any LH players brought in always sit and can’t touch LH pitching. I just wan hitters that can hit, regardless of what side of the mound the ball is coming.

  • ruby2626

    http://sportsjerks.net/2013/03/20/2013-world-baseball-classic-stats-leaders-top-performers/

    Nice stats in only 25 at bats. .360 avg with 3 hrs and 9 RBI’s.

    Serious question, anyone know anything about Alfredo Despaigne, sounds like the 2 of them are neck in neck for power.

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