cubaThe Jose Abreu sweepstakes – which played out relatively quickly and quietly (given the Chicago Cubs’ lack of involvement, I just mean “quiet” around these parts) – looks to be winding down imminently, with the Cuban star on his way to the south side of Chicago.

Ken Rosenthal reports that the White Sox are “expected” to sign Abreu for six years and $68 million, which is easily a record for Cuban players. The 26-year-old is a first base/DH-type, which is a big reason the Cubs weren’t involved. The White Sox, who have a long history of signing Cuban players, are clearly not resigning themselves to a long-term, deep, ugly rebuild, and Abreu could go a long way to getting them back into a competitive place if he proves to be the guy some think he can be in MLB.

That said, the deal is a huge risk. Abreu has been heavily scouted – especially for a Cuban player – and a number of teams that are usually heavy-hitters in the international game were not involved, or did not want to get into Abreu for too much money. That should tell you something about the uncertainty on how his game will translate to the States.

As for the market impact here, there’s very little. The White Sox weren’t expected to spend heavily this Winter except for a guy like Abreu, so this doesn’t really change the rest of the market landscape much. The two other finalists for Abreu were reportedly the Astros (they’re not going after any other big names) and the Red Sox (it’s possible they now try harder to bring Mike Napoli back).

  • Andrew

    Ugh I really hate that I think this is a great deal for the White Sox but I guess I’m glad he’s not in the NL. Normally I don’t root for players to fail, but the exception is always players wearing white sox or cardinals uniforms.

    • J.F.Edwards

      No NL team would pony up for Abreu. Hence, there was only portion of a half-market of MLB teams who would take a gamble on a limited-defense bat.

      The White Sox are taking an even bigger risk than they’re getting credit for.

      Coincidentally, this is the reason I both HATE the designated hitter (overvalued, one- dimensional commodity that changes the way the game is played) and yet expect the players association to be widely in favor of the NL adopting the DH as a rule.

      The bottom line i$ alway$ the $ame.

  • Alex

    Rizzos contract gets better and better.

  • chrisfchi

    I’m guessing konerko is going to retire. The game is going to lose a great guy.

    • Dylan Mondi

      I am curious if the Sox know something we don’t and that is why they are signing Abreu. Wouldn’t make sense if he was an 11 million dollar bench player.

    • Mike

      I was thinking that too. What about Dunn and Konerko?

      • Dylan Mondi

        I think it depends who is the better defender. If Dunn looks great in ST while Abreu struggles at defense then Dunn could start and Abreu could DH and vice-versa

  • Rebuilding

    Great deal for the White Sox. Surprised that Abreau’s agent didn’t let this play out until the Red Sox season was done. They are one of the usual suspects who actually doesn’t have a true every day 1b. Cuban players’ numbers have translated very well when projected to MLB. If so, Abreu is going to be an absolute monster – Barry Bonds in his steroid prime

  • Die hard

    The downside risk is that Theo will feel compelled to do something equally stupid so as to keep the fans coming

    • Rich

      Theo will not react to a white sox signing
      That fan base is a joke
      I’m quite sure that signing is
      Irrelevant in his eyes

      • mreverything

        Quite poetic, Rich.

  • Nick

    Where can I find this guys stats?

    • Rebuilding

      Go to Fangraphs.com and search for Abreu. They did a nice article on him and a Cuban projection system a guy had done (Cuba seems to be equivalent to AA ball). It predicted within a few thousandths Cespedas’s OPS. The numbers it churns out for Abreu will blow your mind

  • Jono

    Awesome! Those of us in Chicago will get to see him play a lot. Im excited to see what he can do.

  • MichiganGoat

    Interesting indeed that a major bidding war wasn’t being reported. I’m assuming this offer was well above what anyone else was willing to spend.

    • Rebuilding

      It is interesting for a guy who has been called the greatest hitter in the world. I think that despite Puig and other Cubans success there is still a bias because of the competition they play is so uneven. Abreu’s power has translated in international comp though. I assume the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Cubs all took themselves out of the bidding for their own reasons and held down the price to some extent

    • Jono

      Never underestimate the power of reinsdorf….id make a cool meme here if I knew how

      • Jono

        Just my own thought, I didn’t hear this anywhere, but I bet there’s good chance reinsdorf is the next commish. Maybe his bulls ownership will hinder that possibility, though

  • BWA

    Found this on MLBTR. Good news for sure.

    “Top international prospects Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres are pretty far along in their development considering that they’re just 16, but they’ll be working to adjust to the U.S. culturally, writes MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. “They’re not raw in their physical abilities, it’s just being raw to the United States, how things are run,” said Cubs Minor League hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce. “As far as the way they play the game, they’re pretty advanced for 16 years old. They’re not raw as far as their tools. Their tools are in place.””

  • Brian Peters

    They can have him.

  • MightyBear

    The fact that Luhnow was in on the bidding makes me think the Sox may be on to something. However, I wasn’t that impressed with Abreu. I didn’t think the ball jumped off his bat like other power hitters I’ve seen. I only saw limited highlights though.

  • cubmig

    All I can say about this story is: I like the accompanying colorful photo.

  • ssckelley

    That is cheap for a player that has 80 grade power and is considered a much better hitter than Cespedes and Puig. I am sure that is less money than what Napoli will get.

    • CubFan Paul

      On the free agent market as an established MLBer Abreu would be getting $22M-$24M. This is a steal.

      • Scotti

        “On the free agent market…

        This is free’er than the Free Agent market. No strings attached whatsoever.

        “…as an established MLBer…”

        He isn’t.

        “Abreu would be getting $22M-$24M. This is a steal.”

        If it pans out. If he flops, it’s $68 million flushed down the toilet. He’ll likely fall somewhere in between the crazy 80 power expectations and flop (safe bet, I know). Abreu is no stranger to scouts and there are many, many skeptics among the scouting community about his true value. There is absolute no reason to assume this is a steal. Like any untested player, this is a gamble. The more you pay out, the greater the gamble. This is about as big a gamble as it gets.

        • ssckelley

          Unless he gets hurt this is not a high risk signing. Abreu is a better hitter than fellow Cubans Puig and Cespedes. The Sox just got 80 grade power at first base for a little more than 11 million per year. For comparisons Napoli is expected to sign for more than that on the FA market.

          • BT

            You realize you are completely talking out of your rectum, right? The idea that you currently KNOW that Abreu is a better hitter than Puig and Cespedes is beyond comical. No one knows anything. I just heard Peter Gammons on the radio explaining that a lot of teams have doubts about his ability to hit a major league (as opposed to Cuban level) fastball. Oakland scouted him and didn’t like him. Oakland currently has Cespedes. My guess is that if they thought Abreu was BETTER than Cespedes, they would like him. He may end up better than those guys, but if he can’t hit a fastball, the White Sox just flushed 70 million dollars down the toilet.

            • ssckelley

              Leave my rectum out of this! You bringing it up is rather disturbing!

              BUTT, my statements have been mentioned before by people that have a lot more information than either you or I. All 3 have played on the same Cuban national team which is usually damn good. Even if Abreu is only as good as Puig or Cespedes an 11 million per year deal for either of them would be cheap. You can pay more on the free agent market and get much less. Abreu is just entering into his prime and has 80 grade power, unless he cannot stay healthy $11 million per year will be a steal.

            • Brains

              the difference is that the white sox are actually willing to spend revenues on the team. they’re going for it. they want to improve, and they might have gambled a little to do it. they also might have just signed a great player that the cubs wouldn’t have touched unless he was on the waiver line.

              • Chef Brian

                Going for it? Because they took a gamble on one player? Their team is team terrible, their farm system is garbage. What are they going for, third place? They are pretty much done spending, and they still are not the best team in their division. If watching your team throw 68 million on a band aid that doesn’t even cover their wound, floats your boat. Then yes the Sox are going for it.

    • Noah_I

      I’ve seen a lot more people with a lot more knowledge (e.g., people who aren’t Jim Bowden), say that even the 70 power statements for Abreu are overstatements, at for now.

  • Die hard

    The reason he was signed before Nov 1 is that effective then Cuba to clamp down on players by selling them to the Mexican league … CBS ran a story on this couple weeks ago

    • Rebuilding

      Ummmm…Abreu defected and is in the Dominican last I heard. Cuba has no claim on him

  • Die hard

    That’s why–here’s my take which is pure speculation — they are now in business of doing it legally where before they likely allowed them to defect in exchange for cash under table as I contended on BN over a year ago — you can look it up– my bet is Selig allowed this and now he’s leaving and Congress is telling MLB has one year to clean up act– connect the dots

    • DarthHater


    • MichiganGoat

      Um what haven’t you said that isn’t fully speculation?

      • Brains

        Cuba does good baseball

  • Jon

    Damn it! This is going to come out of the Chicago Bulls budget!

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      Yup, so much for amnestying Boozer.

  • The Dude

    Not to be overly negative but I’m a little disappointed. $68M in MLB isn’t a huge risk. It’s a risk nonetheless, and I had a similar disappointment when the Dan Haren trade fell through last winter… turns out that was the right decision. Hopefully, this will turn out the same.

    • BWA

      Dan Haren trade was a wash. They both sucked. But it did allow us to pick up feldman, so I guess that is a win.

    • The Dude

      Dan Haren trade was a feather in the process cap. They didn’t like the medicals, so they balked at the trade despite the possible temptation to roll the dice. Was less about Marmol’s expected performance and more about trusting the process. So, I’d call it a win, albeit small.

    • The Dude

      I’d like to clarify that I wouldn’t call $68M over 6 years a huge risk.

    • Soda Popinski

      It wasn’t about the commitment of 6 years 68 mil. It was about him being a 1b/dh only type of player.

      • J.F.Edwards


        (And great user ID/pic, BTW.)

  • YourResidentJag

    That said, the deal is a huge risk. Abreu has been heavily scouted – especially for a Cuban player – and a number of teams that are usually heavy-hitters in the international game were not involved, or did not want to get into Abreu for too much money. That should tell you something about the uncertainty on how his game will translate to the States.

    So, be careful of Tanaka?

    • The Dude

      Agree, and I think that’s the correct perspective here. I have the feeling that the Cubs will sign two, maybe three impact players this season. The timing feels right to start spending on the big league ball club. I think it would create a nice meshing of veteran leadership, and winning culture as the prospects begin to graduate over the next couple seasons… and beyond.

      • Brains

        Hasn’t Theo repeatedly and recently said not to expect impact signings this year? Doesn’t mean he won’t sign one player of Edwin Jackson caliber, but that should be it until about 2016.

  • Brains

    The Cubs should counter by signing Bobby Abreu. He’d be the best player in the organization for the next 3 years.

  • Brains

    This gets it right on. There’s no reason to make a rebuild painful. Theo’s just sadistic and turns a teeth cleaning into a root canal without nitrous.

  • Melrosepad

    Any chance we look at Alex Castellanos that was just DFA’d by the Dodgers? He isn’t a prospect anymore at 27, but has hit very well in the minors. Would seem like a good piece to pick up and see if he can stick in the OF.

    • Scotti

      And, if we do it quickly, it would relegate the Sox signing of Abreu off the front page…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I tend to think they’ll give him a look. Saw the DFA, and started thinking immediately.

  • Kramden

    Happy for the Sox and their fans. I’d rather see another “Puig” play in Chicago than have to watch that hot dog posing for the Dodgers.

  • Frank

    now its 2016….Don’t ya just love how the Years keep getting pushed back……..ya lets just let Ricketts pocket all the money and the cubs should never try to win

    • Kramden

      You didn’t hear that the mantra was changed from “Wait ’til next year” to “Wait a few more years”?

  • udbrky

    dont ya miss how many championships we were winning by signing all of the players?

  • J.F.Edwards

    Cue the Dave Martinez as Dark Horse “Therefore Cub Fan Favorite” as next manager.

    • ssckelley

      Actually it qued the Sandberg crowd. Omg, Sandberg will get mad!!!

  • Brian Peters

    Who gives a crap what Sandberg thinks/does if Martinez gets the gig? Maybe Ryno should have spent a little more time in the bedroom.

  • Die hard

    Build with targeted trades– Sweeney and Barney for Utley

  • Blackhawks1963

    So Abreu projects out as a .240 type hitter with big power, lots of strikeouts and below average defense at 1st for a guy who is thick and non athletic. So in other words the Sox just acquired the promise of the Cuban Adam Dunn.

    They can have him.

    • ssckelley

      Where do you see these projections? Or you just making stuff up?

  • Curt

    Does make me ask the question if ghe whitesox aren’t going to do an ugly rebuild even for a yr or two why are the cubs doing one for several and yes I know the minors are in much better shape now but did the cubs need or hve to do a total rebuild just askin .

  • Brian Peters

    Does anyone remember the last time the Cubs did a total rebuild from the bottom up? Me neither. I understand the lack of patience on the part of some Cub fans, but if all the old methods of trying to build a winner worked–i.e. signing free agents and making trades that always benefitted the other team far more often than it did us–we would be in the Sox’ position. Their WS rings are a mere 8 years old.

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