Should the Mets make a play for Cuban first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu?

10/17/13 in MLB   |   scoreboardsteve22   |   10 respect

Aug 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis (29) reacts in front of home plate umpire Angel Hernandez (55) after striking out to end the seventh inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsThe New York Mets had been very high on young first baseman Ike Davis when they drafted him with their first round pick in 2008 out of Arizona and up until the start of this past season. How they feel about Ike Davis now compared to a couple of years ago is simply jaw dropping. Many thought that Davis would be the next great first baseman and hopefully a franchise cornerstone within a few years after his solid rookie season and the great start to his 2011 season that was cut short thanks to an ankle injury in May.

Alas that wouldn't come to fruition as Davis would come back in 2012 and stink it up all the way until late June until he went on a crazy power tear all the way to the end of the season, finishing it with 32 homers. Unfortunately though his batting average wasn't nearly as good as his home run numbers, as he only hit .227. With the great power surge he ended 2012 with the Mets had hoped that it would lead to a great start and overall 2013 season. That wouldn't happen either as Davis was actually sent down to Triple A for a couple of weeks in June. Davis had a batting average below .200 and had no power at all.

When Davis came back he had a better eye for the ball, reducing his strikeouts and upping his walks. His batting average also improved, although it couldn't have been too hard to improve from a batting average sitting below .200. The power was once again nowhere to be seen as he only hit four homers after the All-Star break. His 2013 season was cut short in August as he suffered a strained oblique that put a damper into the Mets' plans to see Davis, and fellow first basemen Lucas Duda and Josh Satin audition for the starting job in 2014 in the final month of this season. Ike finished the 2013 season with a .205 average, nine homers, 33 RBI's, a .326 OBP, and a .334 slugging percentage, numbers that won't exactly definitely win him the starting job in 2014. So after a disastrous season there were reports that the Mets would non-tender Ike Davis this winter instead of giving him a raise in arbitration that would be in the $6 million range. Fellow first basemen Lucas Duda and Josh Satin didn't do enough in September to win the starting job for 2014, although if anyone is in the lead it's definitely Duda. Even then, the Mets don't have a legit threat at first base and lack offense severely in their lineup. This off-season is said to be "the off-season" that the Mets spend money and turn this team around. The Mets need power badly and may even need two power bats to help this power lacking team out. With the poor free agent class and the Mets' holes on the team, you won't find much power at the shortstop position and at first base or in the outfield to a degree.

This is why the Mets should take a hard look at the next Cuban sensation, first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu. Many scouts and GM's say that this kid has a ton of power that will translate to the MLB immediately. Lots of people say that he could hit 30 home runs next year and improve after that and possibly be a 40-45 home run hitter a year. The negatives are that after his power, he doesn't have much of a bat, as scouts site that his batting average won't be there and he'll strike out a lot. His defense is very suspect as well, which limits him greatly. So some people believe he is just a typical power hitting first baseman that can't do much else.

In tournaments and leagues in Cuba, Abreu always hit, even for high averages, although it was always in limited at bats. We all know that the MLB competition is much tougher than in any other league in the world, but the kid hasn't even seen a single major league pitch and tears it up everywhere else, so I think it's a bit premature to say he won't have much of a bat beyond his power. This kid is 27 years old, is looking for a short-term deal, as has been reported, and will contribute right away with his power. And not for nothing, but it seems as if every Cuban player becomes a star when they get to the major leagues (Yes, I'm talking about Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes), so why not take a chance on the kid? He is also reportedly well grounded and carries himself well off the field, so no worries there.

Many think he will get $10-12 million annually in his first contract which isn't totally breaking the bank. If he is looking for a three to four-year deal, than you could say he could get a contract anywhere from $30 to $48 million, with an absolute max at $60 million. So that wouldn't exactly destroy a team if he doesn't pan out. The Giants, Pirates, Marlins, Red Sox, Orioles, White Sox, Rangers, and Mets have been the teams most linked to Abreu. One person has said that the Marlins are "all-in" with Abreu. Some of these teams will have more money to spend then other teams, so teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore could be hurt in the chase for Abreu.

Since the Mets have so many question marks on this team, including at first base, and need power so bad, they should definitely take a chance on Abreu. They need the power and no one else on the market will offer much of it, especially at first base, unless the Mets go for Mike Napoli, which I highly doubt they will. This kid is looking for a short-term deal and won't break the bank when it comes to money, so it's a risk worth taking in my eyes and it could wind up bringing in a huge reward for the Mets, or any team for that matter. The Rangers, Giants, and Red Sox have been very heavily involved on Abreu and that could hurt the Mets because those teams may just keep upping the ante for his services.

This would also allow the Mets to trade one or two of Davis, Duda, and Satin, and create more depth. With the Tommy John surgery that will cause Matt Harvey to miss all of 2014, it becomes less likely the Mets make a big trade for a slugger like Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez, or even a Troy Tulowitzki because they need the depth they have at starting pitcher to help them out in 2014 in Harvey's absence. Abreu will help with power and also allow the Mets to spend more on free agents as he won't command a lot of money. I think the Mets should pull the trigger on this kid, but at no longer then four years and $13 million annually. The Mets cannot go into 2014 with the same revolving door at first base with Davis, Duda, and Satin.

There's too much inconsistency there and the fans deserve some new better faces on this team. The Mets also have to improve and at least try to get to .500 next season, because this isn't how a big market club operates. Contracts are all about risks and I think this Abreu kid is a risk worth taking.

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