Seattle has been the top landing spot for Japanese players, but can they make an inroad for Cuban players, the new popular market for the next baseball superstar. Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and now Jose Abreu.
Abreu has power, scouts predicting 25-30 home runs, being compared to the Pirates Pedro Alvarez, the Tigers Miguel Cabrera, even Kendrys Morales. Ask any scout and you get various comparisons. One scout said he is more like Edgar Martinez, meaning if he doesn’t hit, you get nothing. Unlike Cespedes and Puig, Abreu has no speed.
But can the Mariners win a bidding war with Texas, Boston, the Dodgers, San Francisco, the Mets, the White Sox, even the Marlins, all of whom have been mentioned as interested in Abreu. Though the Mariners have been rumored to be interested, the Dodgers seem to have an open checkbook and are willing to overpay.
The Mariners might be better off looking at Nelson Cruz, 33, a short term fix for power in the outfield or DH. But If they want to replace Justin Smoak at first and don’t get Abreu, they can pursue Justin Morneau. Mike Napoli has power, but strikes out a lot (185 in 2013) and his defense is not that great, and the Mariners clearly need defense. James Loney is younger, but lacks power. The one thing the Mariners are looking for though is a right handed bat and Cruz is right handed.
Cruz would be easier to land than Jacoby Ellsbury. I doubt the Red Sox will let him go without a fight, and if you are accustomed to winning as Ellsbury has been in Boston, why come to Seattle.
No matter what free agent names come up, Seattle has trouble landing big name players, They could not get Josh Hamilton or Prince Fielder and in the case of Hamilton that turned out to be a good non-deal. The point is they will not get a Robinson Cano, a Bruce McCann, a Carlos Beltran, or an Ellsbury.
But there might be a free agent pitcher to land. We I will look at that on Tuesday