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New York Mets Should Pursue Defected Cuban Outfielder This Winter

June 21st, 2014 at 8:22 PM
By Mike Phillips

Cuban position players have taken the baseball world by storm again. Yoenis Cespedes was the first to have big league success with the Oakland A's, and Yasiel Puig broke out in a big way with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. Another highly touted import came over last season, and the New York Mets passed on handing him a six year, 68 million dollar contract. That player, Jose Abreu, currently leads the American League in home runs with 20.

'Jose Dariel Abreu_ST 3.15.14' photo (c) 2014, Dustin Nosler - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Another hot hitting prospect has defected from Cuba, and the Mets may want to take a look at this one. Top Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas has defected and will look to pursue a big league contract this winter, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Tomas, 23, was one of the top major league talents left in Cuba before he defected. Tomas is an outfielder by trade and has played a lot of center field in the Cuban leagues, but Badler's report cites scouts who say he profiles better as a corner outfielder in the major leagues.

Tomas' big selling point is his power. Tomas' 6'1, 230 lb frame is a perfect power frame, and Baseball America's report gives him a 70 on the 20-80 power scale. That figure is outstanding, and that kind of power will attract a lot of attention from major league teams. The Mets are in desperate need of power, and they should definitely be in pursuit of Tomas' services this winter.

Tomas is a young power hitting outfielder, something the Mets really lack. Young power hitting outfielders don't grow on trees, so if the opportunity to add one in free agency arises the Mets should pounce on it. Tomas would only cost money, and based on comparable contracts for Abreu, Puig, and Cespedes he would likely command a six-eight year deal in the 60 million dollar range. That would be a slight raise annually over what the Mets are paying Chris Young this season, and give them a chance at a young power bat with upside. 

While the transition from Cuban ball to the major leagues isn't guaranteed to be a success, the odds would appear to be in the Mets' favor here. The Mets need to add a power hitting outfielder this winter, and there simply aren't many good options on the free agent market. The top free agent outfielders on the market, Nelson Cruz and Michael Cuddyer, would likely command an average annual salary similar to Tomas. Even if bidding pushes the price for Tomas up to 75 million dollars, it could turn out to be a massive bargain like Puig and Cespedes' deals are proving to be for the Dodgers and A's respectively.

Adding Tomas as a power prospect would also give the Mets an outfielder without having to trade young pitching. The Mets will likely have to deal a pitcher to pick up another position player, and adding Tomas could allow the Mets to save their trade chips for another important piece of the puzzle, like a shortstop or first baseman. Tomas would be a risky move regardless of how much money he signs for, but adding him could also show the fan base that the team is willing to make big moves to try and win. That dynamic could be huge for a franchise that is having trouble at the box office this year.

Tags: Baseball, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Yasmani Tomas

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