2020 AL MVP Jose Abreu is leaving the Chicago White Sox to sign with the Houston Astros. Sep 8, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) hits a single against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 World Series champions didn’t take long to improve their 2023 squad.

The Houston Astros made a big splash to improve their lineup with the signing of veteran first baseman José Abreu, according to several MLB insiders on Monday.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today was the first to report that a three-year contract was being finalized, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post  reported two minutes later that the two sides agreed to a deal.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network and Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle report that the deal is expected to be around $60 million total, or $20 million per year.

It’s notable that the contract is for three years; most baseball evaluators expected no more than two years on a deal for Abreu, who turns 36 in January. But perhaps the Astros needed to go three years to get the deal done, or maybe this allowed them to get a lower Average Annual Value (AAV) that they preferred. However, the $20 million/per is also a higher number than many evaluators anticipated, so that’s interesting too.

While it’s anyone’s guess what Abreu is three years from now, the three-time All-Star is a great bet to be an excellent hitter in 2023, at least.

Abreu put together a .304/.378/.446 slash line with 15 home runs and a 137 wRC+ over 679 plate appearances in 2022 for the Chicago White Sox. He was valued at 4.2 wins above replacement (WAR) per Baseball Reference.

Additionally, Abreu’s Statcast batted ball data suggest that his numbers should’ve been even better, and there’s probably more home run power in the tank. In 2021, he hit 30 home runs.

And in the shortened 2020 season, Abreu was the American League MVP. He had a ridiculous slash line of .317/.370/.617 with 19 home runs over just 262 plate appearances.

Abreu brings a rare blend in today’s game of power, contact (struck out 16.2% of the time in 2022; league average was 22.4%), and on-base skills (he walked 9.1% of the time in 2022). He’s the classic “professional hitter” that has plenty of power to go with it.

So, adding that kind of bat to the World Series champions is a scary thought for the rest of the league.

Here’s a look at how the baseball world is reacting to the Astros signing Abreu:


About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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