PHOENIX ‘ Listen to Jay Alou ‘ agent for free agent outfielder Yasmany Tomas ‘ for his first two sentences and you’ll come away with a dose of reality.
‘I don’t see a need. They have their outfielders,’ Alou said when asked at the general managers’ meetings Monday about the Red Sox‘ interest in the 23-year-old slugger.
But then, in mid statement, came the push.
‘I mean, he could play third base. Everybody could use some pop,’ Alou added.
Alou was simply doing his job when talking to a small group of Boston-area reporters ‘ building up his client for the rest of the baseball world.
Sure, the Red Sox had viewed Tomas during both a showcase and a private workout (held at the team’s facility in the Dominican Republic). But their interest has never been at the level of other teams, citing a concern over the outfielder’s swing-and-miss ratio while playing in Cuba, along with the Sox’ glut of outfielders.
The wheels did start turning a bit when Alou mentioned the prospects of playing third base, a need for the Red Sox. (‘He caught some ground balls (at the workout). He wants to work everywhere. He’ll take ground balls anywhere. He just wants to play,’ the agent said.)
But, unless there is a change of course, no matter what the position, it doesn’t appear as the though the Red Sox view Tomas as valuable an investment as the seven-year, $72.5 million they paid Rusney Castillo.
If that is the case, the interest in Tomas from Red Sox fans’ point of view should be in regards to what the outfielder might become.
When told Castillo compared Tomas’ power to that of Jose Abreu (he of 35 home runs), Alou immediately shot back, ‘He’s got more power than Abreu. He’s got a lot more power. Abreu’s a little older, more mature with his bat. Sometimes it takes guys longer to figure things out. And the last couple of weeks, a lot of things have clicked for Yasmany. I can tell you he’s got a lot more power than anyone I’ve ever seen. A lot.’
For multiple reasons, Tomas will be linked to Abreu. The Red Sox (and other teams who are shying away from the outfielder) just have to wait and see if the youngster will spawn the same wave of regrets.
‘I’m not the team owner. They have to decide when to pull the trigger,’ said Alou regarding a timeline for Alou to sign. ‘After Jose Abreu did what he did this year, I’m sure there were plenty of teams out there that said, ‘Why didn’t I get that guy?’ What happened? What went wrong? Why didn’t I get him?’
‘Yasmany Tomas is very very special. You don’t find that kind of power, and we might not find that kind of power for a while, because the guys with that build, they’re playing in the NFL.’