The Houston Astros shook the MLB universe on Monday, starting off the week with a major free agent move.
The reigning World Series champions are reportedly signing first baseman Jose Abreu, who had spent his entire career (since 2014) with the Chicago White Sox, to a three-year deal.
What does this mean to the Astros?
Well, the instant analysis is that Abreu, who had a well-above average 137 wRC+ and a .824 OPS in 2022, makes an already scary lineup even better.
However, now that the Astros got Abreu, it’s highly unlikely that Yuli Gurriel is brought back to fill that role in 2023.
According to an Astros insider, however, the chances of Gurriel returning still exist.
“The signing of José Abreu would bring an end to Yuli Gurriel’s tenure as Houston’s full-time 1B. Gurriel is a free agent and the Astros have interest in bringing him back in a utility role,” Brian McTaggart tweeted.
The signing of José Abreu would bring an end to Yuli Gurriel's tenure as Houston's full-time 1B. Gurriel is a free agent and the Astros have interest in bringing him back in a utility role.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) November 28, 2022
Gurriel Likely Won’t Be The Astros First Baseman Anymore
Gurriel can still return, just not to play first base.
The Astros have an opening at the designated hitter spot, since Trey Mancini is also a free agent and likely won’t be brought back.
They could prioritize a left-handed hitter, though.
That leaves Gurriel as an option to fill the utility role, vacated by free agent Aledmys Diaz.
We will see how the rest of the roster spots are filled, but bringing back Gurriel (who can play all over the infield except for shortstop) makes sense.
The Astros are going for it in 2023.