Sep 29, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill answers questions from reports during a press conference before a game against the Detroit Tigers at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

White Sox, Astros, Rangers front-runners for Abreu

The biggest prize of the upcoming offseason may not even be on a big league roster yet.

Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu continues to draw praise from around Major League Baseball. According to ESPN baseball writer Buster Olney, the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros are the current front-runners for the infielder’s services. The 26 year-old is expected to cost whichever franchise emerges victorious somewhere in the ballpark of around $70 million.

MLBTR predicted that Abreu would need a six-year, $54 million deal in order to sign. However, other reports have mentioned $60 million as a key number in talks. Olney blew these out of the water, saying that it could reach the $70 million range mentioned earlier – which would dwarf the two ‘model’ deals in recent memory: the four-year, $36 million deal Yoenis Cespedes inked with Oakland and Dodgers’ outfielder Yasiel Puig’s 7 year, $42 million deal.

His defense has come under some recent criticism, and as Olney notes, the three purported front-runners for Abreu are all American League teams, which would allow him to DH if necessary. Miami is reportedly “all in” on Abreu, seeking another Cuban star to pair with ace Jose Fernandez, in hopes of increasing fan interest and attendance in the seasons to come after the new Marlins Park cost taxpayers millions.

He would make an intriguing pick-up for the Astros, as they continue to build under the leadership of GM Jeff Luhnow, who helped build the St. Louis Cardinals into the perennial contender they are of late. With a third-straight #1 draft pick coming next June, Houston has been stockpiling young talent under his guidance.

The San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox had both previously been linked to the Cuban slugger.

Tags: Chicago White Sox Houston Astros Jose Dariel Abreu Miami Marlins MLB Texas Rangers