White Sox finalize deal with Cuban slugger Abreu

CHICAGO (AP) Cuban slugger Jose Abreu has finalized a $68 million, six-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.

The deal was announced Tuesday, about a week-and-a-half after the sides reached an agreement. He is the organization's 17th Cuban player and the third currently on the roster, joining shortstop Alexei Ramirez and outfielder Dayan Viciedo.

"I know there were other teams interested but the support that I would have from Cuban players like Alexei and Dayan and from the beginning, they were interested and showed their interest," Abreu said through a translator. "When it came down to where it will be, it was pretty simple to pick the White Sox."

Abreu's agent Barry Praver said as many as eight teams were seriously involved before the list was narrowed to five finalists. All five final offers were at least $60 million.

The 26-year-old Abreu will receive a signing bonus of $10 million, with $6 million payable upon approval by Major League Baseball and $4 million due Nov. 14, 2014. He will get salaries of $7 million in each of the next two seasons, $10 million in 2016, $10.5 million in 2017, $11.5 million in 2018 and $12 million in 2019.

Abreu, who defected last summer, batted .360 (9 for 25) with three home runs and nine RBIs at the World Baseball Classic last March. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Abreu is expected to play either first base or fill the designated hitter role.

"He's solid on balls in the dirt which is obviously important at first base," general manager Rick Hahn said. "We think he can he can be a solid everyday defensive contributor. Again, the plus-plus tools are the power and the hit tool. But we do view the defense and the throwing as solid/average."

Abreu can help bolster a White Sox offense that scored the fewest runs in the American League and hit only 148 home runs, tied for third fewest in the AL, en route to a 63-99 record one year after finishing second in the AL Central. The White Sox envision Abreu hitting in the middle of the lineup, though Hahn didn't give any statistical expectations for Abreu's first season, citing an adjustment period to a new country and league.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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