Orioles interested in Cuban outfielder Jose Abreu

The Orioles have been scouting Cuban outfielder Jose Abreu for more than a year and are intrigued by his “monster power,” as it’s been described by one member of the organization. There’s no doubt that they like what they’ve seen from him

Unfortunately for the Orioles, Abreu will probably command a monster contract and they aren’t known to jump into bidding wars for international players. However, they continue to discuss him, for what it’s worth.

Abreu, who outgrew the shortstop position and moved to first base, is believed to be in Haiti while waiting for Major League Baseball to declare him a free agent. He also needs to be cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Sound familiar?

Abreu, 26, batted .360/.385/.760 with three home runs and nine RBIs in six games at this year’s World Baseball Classic.

According to various reports, Abreu is expected to hold workouts for teams over the next few months. However, the Orioles have been tracking him for a while and already know what he brings to the table.

Abreu hit .382/.535/.735 with 13 homers in 136 at-bats in the 2012-2013 Cuban National Series. In 2011-2012, he batted .394/.542/.837 with 18 doubles, 35 homers and 75 RBIs in 282 at-bats.

Abreu’s stats in the 2010-2011 Cuban National Series border on the absurd. He batted .453/.597/.986 with 33 homers in 212 at-bats.

The Red Sox reportedly have serious interest in Abreu, envisioning him as their first baseman next season.

Check out this USA TOday article on Abreu.

The Orioles signed another Cuban outfielder, Dariel Alvarez, last month and moved him up to Single-A Frederick last night. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI while batting third and starting in right field.

Alvarez was 4-for-9 with two doubles, a triple and a home run in three games in the Gulf Coast League.

Outfielder Henry Urrutia, the first Cuban player signed by the Orioles last summer, is 14-for-49 (.286) with a triple and two RBIs in 20 games. He could return to the lineup tonight as the designated hitter, with the Orioles no longer restricted by National League rules and the Rockies starting right-hander Juan Nicasio.

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