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José Dariel Abreu is a 26-year-old Cuban defector currently on the free agent market, awaiting his approaching MLB career. His Cuban stats are quite impressive--amazing power, very good BA, does not strike excessively for a HR hitter, draws walks, and is regarded as maybe the best Cuban hitter right now.

As a first baseman with power, should the Mets be interested?

The arguments against him are of course logical and must be considered. Any foreign player is a risk; for every Hideki Matsui there is a Kaz Matsui, for every Nomo a Yoshii, and for every Choo a Jae Weong Seo. How foreign players will adjust is always a huge question mark and a huge risk, as is how long it might take MLB pitchers to adjust to them. Some talk about "holes" in his swing. How many hitters don't have holes in their swing? Trout? Cabrera? Edgar Martinez? And remember, there will be an adjustment period for MLB pitchers as well, with a relatively small body of work and tape for them to use to judge Abreu with. And while his competition in Cuba is not the world's best, it is quite good and not exactly Buttermaker's Bears and Roy Turner's Yankees.

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The Mets need power. They need a first baseman. They need to energize their fan base and give us hope. They desperately need new sources of revenue. They don't want to lose draft picks and are very reluctant to trade young pitchers.


One player fits this scenario ideally--José Dariel Abreu.


Scouts who watched him loved his power. These apparently included Met scouts (they may have been Jeff's kids or unpaid senior volunteers, but hey, they liked him). Some denigrate his defense, some talk about those holes, but overall he was given very favorable reviews. Word seems to be that he will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 years and $60M. A nice neighborhood to be sure, but definitely not an outrageous one, especially considering the apparently once again escalating market for FAs, demonstrated by Pence's crazy deal with the Giants.


The main point here is that what Abreu offers so perfectly matches Met needs. Davis and Duda simply cannot be seriously counted on. Sure, maybe they might excel elsewhere, but if they cannot get it done here, so what? Citi is an ultimate pitcher's park, so a player with proven prodigious power would be especially valuable for the Mets.


Unlike top MLB FAs, no draft pick compensation would be needed here. This seemed to be the issue the Mets claimed as being their major stumbling block in considering Bourn last year.


In addition, while fans throw out fantasies about Stanton, Tulo, Cargo, etc., any of these deals would surely require a starting point of at least one of Wheeler or Syndergaard. While this was questionable pre-Harvey's injury, it now seems absolutely out of the question. Hence, Abreu signifies a possibly excellent addition that would cost zero young players.

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Off-field issues also must be considered. The team desperately needs good PR and something to show their fans that this "plan" really may at some point bear some tangible fruit. Abreu--regardless of his long-term success--does this instantly.

In addition, as many may not realize, there are more Cubans in the NY area than anywhere in the US outside of Florida. His arrival in Queens could lead to many, many new fans, and a possibly very significant new source of revenue for the team, in attendance and in-stadium sales (everyone who visits Citi regularly already has a David Wright jersey), and also could lead to higher TV ratings.

His cost would be offset by this somewhat, and the fewer millions that he would cost than Choo/Tulo/etc. could go to filling one or more of the team's other holes. $5+M a year has extreme significance for this team right now.

Sure, a high-spending team like the Rangers might come in and raise his price. Or it could be a psycho team like the Marlins, in a similar state of fan revolt and with even more to gain with their local community by singing Abreu. But if his price is indeed in the 6/60 range, the Mets must be in this game, and in to win.

Finally, his toughness also must be considered a factor here. While we, as fans, cannot know for sure, it seems as though this Met organization is not the toughest in the game. Injuries, late-season collapses, Lucas Duda's open admission of anxiety--what do Cuban defectors think about a player openly admitting to being afraid of playing the OF? Abreu surely is made of sterner stuff than many Mets. Playing in Cuba is not like playing in the bigs lifestyle-wise, and overcoming the obstacles and making it out is a huge achievement. It seems like he might provide intangibles in addition to HRs.

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Yes, it is a risk. But often in life without risk there is no reward.

The feeling here is that this risk is one where the potential upside so dwarfs the negatives, that the Mets simply must very, very seriously consider signing Abreu.

Worst case? He fails miserably and they still get a PR boost, a huge amount of goodwill from their fan base, and at the very least a burst of revenue from an excited Cuban community in the NY area.

Best case? He becomes a star like Puig and Chapman and a significant part of a future playoff team.

Likely case? Maybe he hits .280 with 25--30 HR, which would make him an amazing addition to this team's anemic offense, and at a position desperately in need of an upgrade.

Bottom line? Puig, Chapman, and players ranging back to El Duque and Tony Perez show quite vividly the success Cuban players can have in the majors.

It says here that Abreu is an absolutely ideal fit for these Mets right now.

And it will be especially disheartening if they do not make an all-out effort to acquire him.