The reigning World Champions made a splash in free agency! News came out today that Houston Astros Sign Jose Abreu to a three-year deal worth around $60M.
Hearing the Astros' deal with José Abreu is expected to be around $60 million.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 28, 2022
Abreu was great offensively in 2022, hitting .304/.378/.446 15 HR, 85 R, 75 RBI with a .361 wOBA & 137 wRC+. Defensively, he has never been anything special but he can be serviceable and will more than make up for it with the bat.
A 3.9 fWAR in 2022 shows that even at age 35, Abreu still has it. The Astros are banking on him being a great addition to the lineup for the next three seasons.
Personally, I love the move for the Astros. The rich get richer. If there was an area the World Champs needed to improve on offense, it was at first. They ranked 29th in wRC+ at first base with a 76 wRC+. Adding Abreu makes the lineup even deeper for 2023 and sets them up with a good shot to repeat.
Houston Astros Sign Jose Abreu
Jose Abreu with the Chicago White Sox
Abreu came over to the Chicago White Sox in 2014 at the age of 27. He immediately became an impact bat, not just in Chicago, but in the entire league, as he won the AL Rookie of the Year award. He also added a silver slugger award and All-Star appearance in his rookie campaign.
Abreu added two more All-Star appearances and two more silver sluggers during his time with the Southside. It would culminate with him earning MVP honors during the 2020 season.
They call him Pito. We call him MVP.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) November 12, 2020
During his time with the White Sox, Abreu appeared in 1270 games, hitting .292/.354/.506 243 HR, 697 R, 863 RBI, 11 SB, with a .364 wOBA & 133 wRC+. That rounds to a 162 game average of 31 HR, 89 R, & 110 RBI. Abreu was a phenomenal talent in Chicago and was a great asset to Fantasy Baseball rosters.
Jose Abreu's Fantasy Impact with the Houston Astros
As mentioned earlier, the Houston Astros were lacking offensive production from the first base position during the 2022 season. In fact, the 76 wRC+ from first base was second worst only to the Pittsburgh Pirates who had a 59 wRC+ from the position. It was also the second-worst spot in the lineup for the Astros, only ahead of the catcher position that sported a 59 wRC+.
Have yourself a night, José Abreu! pic.twitter.com/iVWmvfgvX5
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 14, 2022
Adding Abreu to a lineup that features Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Alex Bregman should make Fantasy Baseball owners salivate. In redraft, his value goes up tremendously. Even if the power does not go back to 30 HR power, there is still plenty of value.
Abreu could easily put up high RBI and or Run totals based on the length of the Astros lineup. If the power comes back, it is even more desirable.
In dynasty, he is 36, which limits the value. However, he becomes more enticing to a contending team in your league.
Jose Abreu's Departure Impact on the Chicago White Sox
The White Sox were able to let Abreu walk due to the emergence of Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn is a top prospect that has been playing out of position in the outfield due to him and Abreu both being on the roster. Vaughn has shown some real promise with the bat, and with the added control and cheaper cost, it allows the White Sox to spend their money elsewhere.
Andrew Vaughn go-ahead shot! pic.twitter.com/3UVbltgC8v
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 1, 2022
It is never easy to replace a guy like Abreu, but the White Sox may be in the best position to replace him due to Vaughn's presence. Vaughn hit .271/.321/.429 17 HR, 60 R, 76 RBI with a .327 wOBA & 113 wRC+.
It is a slight step down but those are still great numbers. Plus, he will only be 25 going into 2023 so if he takes another step forward, he could replicate the value Abreu gave the team offensively. This would allow the White Sox to improve the team by taking the $20M/year Abreu would make and spend it elsewhere.
Final Thoughts on Jose Abreu
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I love the move for the Astros. I love the move for Jose Abreu. It scares me as a fan of another team, but I love the move from a Fantasy Baseball perspective.
The Astros targeted an area they were lacking production and got one of, if not the best options at the position. If their current offensive players replicate their 2022 seasons, and now one adds in Abreu, it becomes an even scarier lineup to navigate.
Which is why it becomes such a fun addition for Fantasy Baseball. Abreu becomes much more enticing in drafts. It also raises the value of Altuve, Pena, Alvarez, Tucker, & Bregman. They will now see extra RBI opportunities and/or have someone to drive them in and add to their run totals. As mentioned earlier, the rich get richer in Houston.
The Astros will once again be a favorite in 2023.
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