Cuban star Jose Abreu will soon make the leap to Major League Baseball.
Optimistic that he can become their version of Yasiel Puig, the reigning World Series champs have sent general manager Brian Sabean to the Dominican Republic for some first-hand scouting, tweets Dionisio Soldevilla of ESPNDeportes.com:
Giants GM Brian Sabean is in the DR along with Felipe Alou scouting cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu— Dionisio Soldevila (@dSoldevila) September 12, 2013
Abreu's countrymen have irritated the Giants in recent years by effortlessly adjusting to the majors.
Yoenis Cespedes arrived in the Bay Area prior to the 2012 season after inking a four-year contract with the Oakland Athletics. He has 45 home runs and an .800 OPS through two seasons in their outfield.
Through 88 games, he flaunts a .339/.404/.556 batting line, which puts him neck-and-neck with Jose Fernandez in the NL Rookie of the Year race. Moreover, his unrivaled athleticism has helped the Dodgers financially, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, by buffing up television ratings and selling merchandise.
Can Abreu make a similar splash for the Giants in 2014?
The 26-year-old isn't going to contribute eye-popping outfield throws or aggressive baserunning, but his hitting ability is Barry Bonds-esque.
Grantland's Jonah Keri spent a few thousand words raving about Abreu's power numbers in early 2012.
It's difficult to fathom anyone maintaining a .453/.597/.986 batting line at any professional level, which he did in Cuba's Serie Nacional during the 2010-2011 campaign. Ben Badler of Baseball America notes that we've been treated to hundreds of Abreu at-bats in international competition, and most of those results were extraordinary.
Remember this moonshot from the 2013 World Baseball Classic?
Presently, San Francisco's starting rotation is in shambles. Abreu could go deep every other game next summer and the team still wouldn't compete with the Dodgers for NL West supremacy.
However, assuming that Sabean and his staff invest in adequate pitching this winter, the club could immediately return to relevancy. A strong supporting cast would be the soapbox for this 6'3", 240-pound myth to stand on as he battles for our attention and disposable income.
Of course, acquiring Abreu in the first place will require a considerable financial sacrifice.
L.A. committed seven years and $42 million to Puig based on a few batting practice sessions.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com expects Abreu to demand double the average annual value, while Jeff Passon of Yahoo! Sports can imagine the winning bid costing north of $60 million. In a free-agent class that's devoid of consistent, middle-of-the-lineup types, he ought to be highly sought-after.
Although there's a chance that Abreu joins Puig as a global star and MVP-caliber player, it is much more likely that he fails to mesmerize.
Abreu is a one-dimensional player who won't use his legs or fielding ability to compensate for slumps at the plate. Also, part of Puig's appeal comes from his enthusiasm and immaturity, and we'll see less of that from Abreu (nearly four years older).
It's still wise for the Giants to pursue the dominant defector, so long as they have realistic expectations about his potential to influence their bottom line and quest for another championship.
Ely hits for less power than Abreu, but also has interest in signing for millions of dollars. If you have that kind of money laying around (or just love chatting about baseball), contact him on Twitter.