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Ben Cherington discusses Cuban defector Jose Abreu

08.15.13 at 10:01 am ET
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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show, was asked for a scouting report on first baseman Jose Abreu, one of the most renowned sluggers in the history of Cuban baseball who recently defected to Haiti.

Abreu, 26, is months away from being open for bidding to the highest paying big league team, as he needs to establish residency in a country and then get cleared to play by both Major League Baseball and the U.S. government. But, given that the Sox do not have an everyday first baseman signed beyond this year (Mike Napoli is wrapping up a one-year deal and will be free-agent eligible again; Daniel Nava and Mike Carp are under team control, but neither has been an everyday first baseman for the Sox), the potential fit of a player like Abreu is apparent.

Cherington, however, could offer little information on Abreu, who will be eligible for unfettered free agency — costing the team that acquires him only money rather than a draft pick. Abreu hit .382 with a .535 OBP, .735 slugging mark, 13 homers, 37 walks and 21 strikeouts in 42 games while playing for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Serie Nacional season.

“I can’t give you much of a scouting report,” Cherington said of Abreu. “We just don’t know him well enough yet. And of course until he’s gone through the process of getting cleared and all that, there’s really not much to say. As with any player that comes out of Cuba and has a chance to help us, we’ll certainly do the work that we need to do. In a few months, I may be able to answer that question better. But the numbers in Cuba certainly were impressive.”

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