The Miami Marlins were among the many teams keeping an eye on upcoming Cuban free agent Jose Dariel Abreu, as the team was among a contingent of other clubs watching him work out in the Dominican Republic this past weekend. According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel, the team is expected to make an offer for the free agent, who was just declared available by Major League Baseball last week.
New general manager Dan Jennings led a contingent that also included international operations director Albert Gonzalez, pro scout Dave Roberts and Double-A manager Andy Barkett. An American League scout at the showcase said he anticipates the Marlins making a serious play for Abreu, who Major League Baseball declared a free agent last weekend.
The Marlins’ talent evaluators spent Monday and Tuesday watching Abreu with counterparts from just about every other big league outfit. The scout, who spoke with a member of the Marlins’ group, said it would come down to how much owner Jeffrey Loria wants to spend.
The Marlins have been among the many teams who supposedly have interest in Abreu, who has made a name for himself in the top Cuban league for being an elite power hitter at the plate. The Fish just finished one of the worst offensive seasons in recent baseball history, and general manager Dan Jennings said that his goal was to improve the offense this offseason, so a move for Abreu would be a step in the right direction. The team already has one power hitter in Giancarlo Stanton, and adding another could be a nice way to complement young talents like Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. And as we have mentioned a few times here before, the Marlins need to chase potential superstar talent like Abreu over known commodities whenever they get the chance.
But the Fish still have plenty of hurdles to pass before being able to make an offer. Miami needs to outbid a number of other teams with interest, including clubs like the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago White Sox. All of these teams have significantly larger budgets than the Marlins, and Abreu is the latest of these supposed star talents to come out of Cuba and into the hot fires of international free agency. It is likely he will be looking for a deal paying $10 million per season, a full million more per year than what Yoenis Cespedes got. He also may be expecting more years from a signing team.
In addition, the Marlins in the past have said that they may not be "smitten" with Abreu as they were with Cespedes. Cespedes was a great fit for the 2012 franchise, while Abreu would be displacing a first baseman on the roster in Logan Morrison.
All of this is to say that we are fairly sure the Marlins will make a move on Abreu and be among the teams interested. Whether that move is a legitimate one that is within the expected price range is more questionable. The team has failed in signing other top Cuban free agents in previous years, and with Abreu looking like the one with the biggest demands yet, it still seems like an unfortunate long shot for the Fish.