Why the Jose Abreu era with Houston isn’t likely to end anytime soon

Has the ink even dried on Abreu's contract?
Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu
Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Mistakes happen. But unlike other sports, the mistakes you make in baseball can come back to haunt you for quite some time. The Houston Astros are experiencing that with Jose Abreu. This past week the team and player agreed that optioning Abreu to the minors was the best course of action for the struggling first baseman.

Abreu's numbers this season have been downright awful. The former AL MVP is hitting just .099/.156/.113 with only seven hits in 77 at-bats in 2024. According to Baseball Savant, Abreu is among the worst in league in terms of expected batting average, expected slugging percentage, and barrel rate. It's been an atrocious start to the year for Abreu, and the Astros as a whole.

But will a trip to the minor leagues really cure what's ailing Abreu? The Astros certainly hope so, because if it doesn't, there's very little chance that Houston will take things to the extreme and actually release Abreu this season.

Why the Jose Abreu era with Houston isn’t likely to end anytime soon

Abreu signed a three-year, $58.5 million contract with the Astros last offseason. After waving goodbye to longtime first baseman Yuli Gurriel, Houston's front office was hoping that the three-time All-Star would continue his hot-hitting into the twilight of his career. That was a bad bet.

Abreu hit .304/.378/.446 in 2022 and looked the part of a player who should be able to secure a multi-year deal worth over $50 million. But Abreu was entering his age-36 season, and is isolated to first base (a position where he's never won a Gold Glove Award). That was a gamble that has yet to pay off, and it would seem based on the current set of circumstances, that it's never going to.

Abreu will not be down in the minors for a tune-up. His stay is likely to last several weeks. But Astros fans need to be aware that Abreu is owed far too much money for Houston to just give up on their prized free agent acquisition from two winters ago.

Sorry, Astros fans, but Abreu is here to stay. How serviceable he'll be for the next two seasons is up to him, but based on what he's produced since the start of 2023, it's not looking good.

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