The Houston Astros just made an uncharacteristic move.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad one, though: to the contrary, they are adding a proven slugger in former Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.
It’s just uncommon for them to hand out a long-term deal to players well in their thirties.
They clearly feel that the 35-year-old Abreu can remain in top shape for at least a couple more years, judging by the terms of the deal.
“Jose Abreu is expected to receive a 3-year contract from the #Astros once finalized,” MLB insider Bob Nightengale tweeted.
Jose Abreu is expected to receive a 3-year contract from the #Astros once finalized.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 28, 2022
You can say that the rich got even richer: a lineup that already had Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena, and Chas McCormick is adding a former MVP award winner in Abreu.
A Potent, Experienced Bat
Even with just 15 home runs in 157 games in 2022, Abreu remained a comfortably above-average hitter with a .304/.378/.446 slash line and a 137 wRC+ (100 is considered league average offensive performance).
He also accumulated 3.9 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR.
It’s hard not to see the similarities Abreu has with contact-oriented Michael Brantley, a key hitter in the Astros lineup until getting hurt earlier in the year.
Make no mistake, though: Abreu had some serious power from the mid-2010s until 2021, and it’s not at all crazy to expect some of that power to return in 2023 under the right conditions.
With fellow Cubans Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel, Houston is the perfect landing spot for Abreu, who wants to win his first World Series title and the Astros give him a perfect chance of doing just that.
He still has some thump in his bat, and will make the Astros lineup even better than it already is.