Houston Astros Acquire All-Star Slugger Jose Abreu
The Houston Astros signed former White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu to a three-year, $60 million contract on Monday. While it could seem like this move means the team is moving on from Yuli Gurriel, there's still plenty of space for Yuli to alternate between first base and designated hitter, providing a low strikeout, high contact bat off the bench.
Regardless of what the future holds for the Astros and Yuli Gurriel, it goes without saying that adding Abreu's bat gives the Astros lineup much more depth. While some may not like Abreu's advanced age at 35, remember that it was just two years ago that a 37-year-old Yuli Gurriel was the American League batting champ.
And Abreu has all the things the Astros love in a hitter. He has a propensity for putting the ball in play with high exit velocities. His 183 hits last year were second in the American League, and despite his low power output of 15 home runs in comparison to his normal career numbers, it can't hurt that he's now got the Crawford Boxes to hit into in left field.
Beyond Abreu's contact oriented hitting approach that fits the Astros offensive philosophy, the team also gets yet another Cuban born player who is a great influence in the clubhouse according to all reports. Adding someone who won't disrupt the wonderful chemistry of the team is an added bonus to the talented hitter that Abreu is.
For where the Astros are in their window of contention, a short-term, high ceiling acquisition like Abreu is the perfect fit. They don't get bogged down with a long contract that could hinder their chances at retaining their younger stars on the rise.
The only Astros players of consequence who will hit free agency before Abreu are Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. Jose Abreu will be in the final year of his contract, which should not hinder the Astros ability to extend either of those players beyond 2024 if they so choose.
More importantly Abreu's contract will end the same season as Framber Valdez, Kyle Tucker and Jose Urquidy, removing money off the books to re-sign hopefully at least one, if not more of those players.
His contract will also end well before Cristian Javier, Jeremy Peña and Yordan Alvarez can test the market. Abreu is a win now move that doesn't hurt the future of the franchise, which is exactly the kind of move the Astros needed.
Considering the team just won the World Series and got better offensively, they should still be the favorites to return to the Fall Classic, if not win it all. That's of course as things stand and depends on what moves other contending teams choose to make to catch up to the Astros.
And while Justin Verlander will possibly mark yet another year of the Astros losing a superstar player, it's hard to imagine this team taking a step back with a rotation of Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers Jr., Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy.
Not to mention the insurance policy of Hunter Brown waiting in the wings should anyone get injured. Brown could easily follow the path of Cristian Javier this past season of starting the year as a multi-inning bullpen option that outperforms his rotation mates, forcing Dusty to give him starts.
Both the future and the present are bright for the Astros. This Jose Abreu signing is exactly what the team needs at this point in time,. Hopefully there are still moves to come, but so far, the team is off to a good start in free agency.