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updated: 8/19/2013 8:48 PM

Abreu's price won't scare off White Sox

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  • Cuba's first baseman Jose Abreu reacts after hitting a grand slam off China's Liu Yu in the fifth inning of their World Baseball Classic first round game in Fukuoka, Japan, Monday, March 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

      Cuba's first baseman Jose Abreu reacts after hitting a grand slam off China's Liu Yu in the fifth inning of their World Baseball Classic first round game in Fukuoka, Japan, Monday, March 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
    Associated Press

  • Cuba's first baseman Jose Abreu, right, is celebrated by teammate Tomas Yasman at home after hitting a grand slam off China's Liu Yu in the fifth inning of their World Baseball Classic first round game in Fukuoka, Japan, Monday, March 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

      Cuba's first baseman Jose Abreu, right, is celebrated by teammate Tomas Yasman at home after hitting a grand slam off China's Liu Yu in the fifth inning of their World Baseball Classic first round game in Fukuoka, Japan, Monday, March 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
    Associated Press

 
 

The White Sox have the need.

And, thanks to the Boston Red Sox and the Texas Rangers absorbing all but $1 million of the roughly $38 million owed to Jake Peavy and Alex Rios through next season, the White Sox have the money.

Count them as players in the Jose Dariel Abreu sweepstakes.

The 26-year-old first baseman has defected, reportedly to Haiti, and after establishing residency Abreu is expected to land in the United States and sign with a major-league team.

With so much paperwork required, it is not yet known when Abreu will be available.

The 6-foot-3, 258-pounder also is scheduled to be the center of a showcase event next month at an undetermined Caribbean location. The Sox undoubtedly be in attendance, even though Abreu already is projected to land a multiyear contract in the $50 million-$60 million range.

On the White Sox' last homestand, before Abreu's showcase was announced, executive vice president Kenny Williams said he needed to see "more video" of the intriguing talent who already has drawn comparisons to countrymen Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes.

But Abreu's high price tag didn't scare off Williams.

"To me, it's all big money," Williams said. "If it's big money, it's big money. Can we fit it into our equation? We've gone out and spent money before at given times. It has to fit into the current equation and our three-year look. So I don't know."

In early July, the Sox signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Micker Adolfo Zapata to a $1.6 million contract. He has the potential to be an impact bat, but Zapata's not going to be appearing at U.S. Cellular Field anytime soon.

Abreu could provide instant help to a Sox offense that has struggled throughout the current year and is most likely cutting ties with Paul Konerko at the end of the season.

"We're not starting from scratch," Williams said of the last-place White Sox' mindset moving forward. "We've got pitchers that you can send out there on a day-to-day basis and can keep you in ballgames. Then, you need to figure out a way to supplement that with your offense.

"While it's going to be fun to have a high draft pick (in 2014) for the first time since I've been around here, I don't want too many of them. That means you're not going too well.

"That's not who we are. We're going to go into the off-season and we're going to try to be winning, albeit with a younger core. If there's somebody out there that fits that bill, that fits in with a younger core for an extended period of time, why not?"

Considering he has been a prolific power hitter in Cuba for years, Abreu is likely to be at the center of a bidding war. Can the White Sox compete with teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers, Orioles and Mets?

Only time will tell, but the White Sox have had success with current Cuban players Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo, along with Jose Contreras and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez in the past.

Viciedo is familiar with Abreu and is eager to help steer him to the Sox.

"I played against him," Viciedo said through a translator. "He's got a really good bat. He can hit. I remember that. I know he's a good player, but more than anything I remember he has a good bat."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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