by Steve Bogira
In August, Abreu defected from Cuba. He's a 6-foot-3, 250-pounder not known for his defense or speed. But his slugging stats have been ridiculous. In his 2010-11 MVP season in Cuba, he hit .453 with 33 homers—in just 66 games. In Cuba's six games in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, he hit .383 with three homers and nine RBI. He draws many walks and is hit by pitches often.
If he can slug in the big leagues the way the Sox think he can, the team may have a fearsome heart of the order for years. Avisail Garcia, a 22-year-old right fielder from Venezuela, looked promising after the Sox swiped him from the Tigers last July in the three-team trade in which Jake Peavy was dealt to the Red Sox. Garcia hit .304 in 42 games, and his .447 slugging percentage was the best on the team.
But if Abreu flops—oh, boy. In 2010, the Sox signed Adam Dunn for four years for $56 million. Sox fans know too well how that has worked out. Dunn has hit 86 homers in the first three seasons of his contract—subpar for him—and his batting average here is .197. He's fanned 588 times, setting club strikeout records that may never be approached. The team is stuck with him for one more season.
Between Dunn and Abreu, the club will have spent $124 million on two players for a total of ten years.