‘RBI Machine’ Jose Abreu could leave the Chicago White Sox as a free agent
Right-handed hitter Jose Abreu has enjoyed great success as the “face” of the Chicago White Sox franchise.
Abreu, who turns 36 in January, has now entered free agency.
Abreu has only played for the White Sox since joining the big leagues in 2014.
A three-time American League All Star, Abreu signed a 3-year, $50 million contract with the White Sox in 2020. The club must now decide whether to make him a new contract offer or allow him to leave. leave the club. door and sign with a new team.
About Jose Abreu:
When he was just 16, Abreu started playing in the Cuban National Seire, the top professional baseball league in Cuba.
In 2010–11, at the age of 23, Abreu won the league MVP award after hitting 33 homers and making 93 runs for his team Elefantes de Cienfuegos.
Abreu was among a number of players who left Cuba in August 2013 and MLB declared him an international free agent.
Abreu worked for teams in the Dominican Republic and eventually signed with the White Sox for a hefty $10 million investment.
Remarkably, Abreu did not play minor league baseball for the White Sox. At 27, he went straight from .345 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs in 2012-13, his final year with Cienfuegos in Cuba, to parent club the White Sox in 2014.
At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Abreu provided the White Sox with the kind of power hitter they needed in the middle of their roster.
Abreu won the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year award.
In nine seasons with the White Sox, Abreu hit .292/.354/.507/.860 in 5,506 plate appearances, spanning 1,270 games.
Without a doubt, Abreu was a team leader and a mentor to the other team members.
An explosive hitter, Abreu hit 243 homers and drove in 863 carries. Not counting the shortened 2020 pandemic season, Jose Abreu has completed at least 100 races on six occasions. His highest total was 123 in 2019.
With the exception of the pandemic year, he has scored at least 30 doubles every season.
The 2020 season may have been the best of Abreu’s career. It was a season with honors and awards.
He won the 2020 American League Hank Aaron Award, which recognizes the best hitter in each league.
Abreu was the American League’s Most Valuable Player of 2020. He was named All Major League Baseball team first baseman that year.
In addition to his three All Star matches, Abreu has won three prestigious Silver Slugger Awards.
Scouting José Abreu:
For this scout, Abreu has one of the smoothest and easiest swings among big league power hitters. He keeps things simple.
As seen in the image above, Abreu never got sucked into using an overswing to get loft on the ball. Rather, he uses a very measured approach and strives to find the barrel of the bat with his strong wrists and hands. He lets the ball travel deep into the area and lets his strength prevail.
Abreu doesn’t have the greatest batting speed, but his upper body is so strong he can propel the ball and generate backspin and carry with his superb tracking and extension.
Abreu thrives under pressure and with runners on the base. He is very tough, as he tracks the ball out of the thrower’s hand and recognizes pitches quickly.
A patient hitter, Abreu makes good contact and takes advantage of his size and strength as the focal points of his approach.
Defensively, Abreu was better than average at first base, but he won’t win a Golden Glove. He is competent and efficient.
Abreu is slow and his lack of speed is the weakest part of his game. But he more than makes up for his slowness with his loud and dangerous bat.
The market for Jose Abreu:
As Abreu continued to produce offensive results last season, his home run total fell to 15 from 30 in 2021. His RBI total went from 117 to 75. With 679 plate appearances, he went at the plate 20 more times last season. However, he hit less and walked more.
To this observer, his bat seemed a bit slower, especially in the first half of the season. However, his discipline at the plate continued to be superb and he finished the season with a .305 average. His offensive production would have been very well received by most baseball hitters.
The White Sox have first base candidates for both right-handed hitter Andrew Vaughn and left-handed hitter Gavin Sheets. Sheets may have found a home in right field, but like Vaughn, he’s a natural first baseman. The White Sox may think it’s time for them to move to Vaughn or Sheets at first base.
At his age, a team is unlikely to offer Abreu more than a two-year deal. Estimates of its annual value are expected to be between $18 million and $20 million.
For this writer, it doesn’t look like the White Sox will make a bid to retain Abreu. This situation could certainly change.
Reports indicate the Chicago Cubs have a strong interest in signing Abreu.
This scout watched young Cubs prospect Matt Mervis in the Arizona Fall League. The left-handed hitter has exceptional power, and he would certainly fill the Cubs’ need for a young, powerful and dynamic hitter in the middle of the roster.
Abreu could be a great bridge if the Cubs feel that 24-year-old Mervis isn’t considered completely ready to take over first base for the Cubs.
As of their current November roster, Fangraphs predicts the Cubs will have a payroll of $130 million in 2023, down $16 million from last season. Abreu can meet the payroll needs of the team.
The Cleveland Guardians, who won the American League Central Division by 11 games against the White Sox, need a powerful, right-handed first baseman.
Even though he’s getting older, Abreu is filling Cleveland’s unmet need.
Would the Guardians spend $18-20 million on Abreu? Probably not. But he could be very hard-hitting on a young roster that needs an extra power-bat to help All Star third baseman Jose Ramirez make runs.
Even with his home run total down, Abreu fits the bill. He always drives in races, and that’s what Cleveland needs.
The Guardians are expected to spend $72 million on payroll next season. They have arbitration-eligible players who could inflate that number. Whether Cleveland will add a significant payroll to sign a free agent remains to be seen.
San Diego Padres:
The San Diego Padres flirted with a deep playoff run, but they didn’t cross the finish line.
The Padres have solid rotation and good pitching, but they could use a hard-hitting bat at first base. Like Cleveland, their offense is promising, but they need a big bat to support Manny Machado and newly acquired Juan Soto.
It doesn’t seem like money is an issue for the Padres. A reasonable short-term contract for Jose Abreu is suitable.
The Padres are expected to spend $187 million in payroll next year, down $27 million from this season. Enter Abreu? It seems very possible.
Yes, the Brewers have Rowdy Tellez to play first base, but Abreu would add the extra power/RBI bat the team needs.
Frankly, Tellez and Abreu would make a good combination at first base/designated hitter, alternating at those two positions.
The Brewers have Tyrone Taylor and Garrett Mitchell set to join their starting lineup. For this writer, the two could be in an outfield rotation for the Brewers at reasonable wages, keeping the payroll low enough to afford Abreu.
As it stands, the Brewers have an estimated payroll of $118 million, down from $137 million this year. Since they need an offensive jolt, Abreu can be a very good answer.
The titular first baseman Ty France is a versatile player. He can play multiple positions for the Mariners, moving elsewhere to accommodate Abreu.
The Mariners think they’re about to go further and further in the playoffs. Abreu can help them achieve this goal.
They have an estimated payroll of $132 million in 2023, leaving room for Abreu. It just makes sense to add the firepower and RBI bat the Mariners need to go further.
It looks like the Chicago White Sox are preparing to part ways with “RBI machine” Jose Abreu.
Guys with a history of driving in races like Abreu don’t come around very often.
Abreu is an aging star, but he still has enough firepower in his bat to attract a team that needs offense. Several clubs could use his bat at first base.
To this observer, it would appear that the Chicago White Sox’s long distance rival, the Chicago Cubs, may make the most compelling offer for the services of Jose Abreu.