The rich just got richer out in Houston, as the reigning champion Astros just made a big addition to the middle of their lineup. Jose Abreu has been a model of consistency producing runs for the Chicago White Sox across an illustrious nine-year career.
Now he will take his sweet swing to the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park, where he can feast on the short porch of the Crawford Boxes.
The 35-year-old first baseman signed with the White Sox after defecting from Cuba in 2013, landing a six-year, $68 million deal. In his first season, Abreu unanimously won the Rookie of the Year, after hitting .317/.383/.581, with 36 home runs and an MLB-best 173 OPS+.
Abreu drove in 100 runs in each of his first four seasons, and led the American League in RBIs in consecutive seasons in 2019 and 2020. Abreu won the MVP during the shortened 2020 seasons, hitting .317/.370/.617, with 19 home runs in 60 games. He led the league in games played, hits, RBIs, slugging percentage and OPS+.
All told, Abreu hit .292/.354/.506, with 243 home runs and a 133 wRC+ across his nine-year White Sox career. Nolan Arenado is the only player in Major League Baseball who has more RBIs than Abreu since his debut and only Carlos Santana has played in more games.
This year, Abreu took a step back in the power department, hitting just 15 home runs, yet he still posted a 137 wRC+. What he lacked in power, Abreu made up for in discipline, setting a career-low with his 16.2% strikeout percentage and posted his best on-base percentage (.378) since his rookie campaign.
While fellow Cuban Yuli Gurriel was exceptional for the Astros in the playoffs, there is no doubting that Abreu is a massive upgrade over a 38-year-old, who just posted a .647 OPS last season.
Abreu can split time between first base and DH, giving his new club fantastic at-bats night in and night out. It will be interesting to see how much money he commands and if he is able to perform well into his late 30s.