According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu is “finalizing” a six-year, $68 million contract, likely with the White Sox. If true, this would be the largest contract ever for an international free agent.
This afternoon, it emerged that Abreu was deciding between the White Sox, Red Sox and Astros. The Rangers, Marlins and Giants had also shown interest.
The 26 year-old was expected to cost whichever franchise emerges victorious somewhere in the ballpark of around $70 million, according to Buster Olney.
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 was 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 have made 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, including top picks Carlos Correa and Mark Appel.