Red Sox Rumor: Active talks with Chicago White Sox for Jose Abreu
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox are reportedly in active trade discussions with the Chicago White Sox regarding power-hitting first baseman Jose Abreu.
Making a deal with the Chicago White Sox worked out well for Dave Dombrowski last time. Just shy of a year from when the Boston Red Sox acquired Chris Sale, the president of baseball operations may be going back to the well.
FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox are in active talks with Chicago for star first baseman Jose Abreu.
Abreu hit .304 with a .906 OPS, 33 home runs and 102 RBI for the White Sox this year, producing his best season since he burst onto the scene in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2014. He has averaged over 30 homers per year and topped 100 RBI in all four of his big league seasons.
MLB Trade Rumors projects Abreu to earn $17.9 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility. He’ll be a free agent in 2020, locking him in for two seasons of control. That timeline lines up well with what Boston should be looking for. They need a big bat in the lineup now but also need to look ahead at paying their own core of young stars down the line. The Red Sox may not be interested in extending Abreu beyond those two seasons given that he’s already 30 years old. They could let his salary fall off their books in time to extend Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts.
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The short-term commitment may make Abreu more appealing than the top free agent bats on the market. J.D. Martinez will certainly cost significantly more. Eric Hosmer will be looking at a contract that pays about the same as Abreu’s salary on an average annual basis but will require a longer commitment. The Kansas City Royals first baseman also doesn’t offer the power upside that Boston craves.
On the other hand, acquiring Abreu will cost more than money. Chicago raided the Red Sox farm system of their best assets last year, leaving few blue chip prospects in the system. It’s unclear what the White Sox will ask for in return but given his more expensive salary and approaching free agency, Abreu won’t cost anywhere near the haul that Boston gave up for Sale.
This isn’t the first time the Red Sox have shown interest in Abreu. As Heyman alluded to, Boston was one of four finalists for the first baseman when he came over from Cuba. The Red Sox ultimately fell less than $5 million shy in the bidding, which Chicago won with a 6-year, $68 million deal.
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Given how quickly Abreu adapted to Major League Baseball by becoming a star caliber slugger out of the gate, you can imagine that the Red Sox must be kicking themselves for not shelling out more to acquire him when they had the chance. Perhaps now is the time for them to rectify that mistake.