Red Sox: Trade for Jose Abreu over signing free agent first baseman

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Jose Abreu /

The Boston Red Sox have been tied to a number of top-tier free agents but a trade for Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu may be a better option.

You’re Jose Abreu and you are thinking that you are very likely to be playing for the Boston Red Sox next season.

You hear that Jon Heyman and Ian Browne and the tweeters and the talk shows are all buzzing about you and Eric Hosmer—which one will be playing his home games at Fenway Park?

You have said that you would love to spend your entire career with the White Sox, but you know that they are on a big rebuilding plan and that you and Avisail Garcia are the last two major trade chips that GM Rick Hahn has to swap for prospects.

You’re Jose Abreu and you know that Boston is desperate for a power bat and they have a slot to fill at first base.  And you are thinking that you are the perfect fit for their needs.

Then, there’s the money.  You hear that Hosmer is looking to get $20 million a year for 10 years and you think that sounds fair.  You will need to wait until 2020 to become a free agent and cash in on such a long-term contract.

Meanwhile, you must rely on the arbitration process to determine your salary for 2018 and 2019; you will be getting approximately $19.7 million for this season, which is pretty good compared to what others are getting.

You recall that Carlos Santana just signed with the Phillies:  3 years at $20 million per year and that Boston had recently made him a 3-year offer.

You’re Jose Abreu and you think that the Red Sox are seeking a Big Bat at first base and there’s you and Hosmer at the top of the list and a few other guys like Logan Morrison, Brandon Belt, and Tommy Joseph have been mentioned.

You’re Jose Abreu and you are bothered to hear that you are not as good a defender as Hosmer, but your fielding average is just a point behind his:  .994 to .995.  And, if people took the time to check on Baseball Reference, they would be surprised to find that you have better range than Homer your Range Factor per Game (Putouts + Assists) / Games Played is 6th in the AL at 8.91; Hosmer is 11th with 8.66.

You’re thinking that, if the Red Sox are looking for a power hitter, they will choose you, since, although Hosmer may hit for a higher average [2017: .318 to .304]; you have a better SLG% .552 to .498.  Your WAR was better [4.7-4.0] and you had more HRs 33 to 25, and RBIs 102 to 94.

You’re Jose Abreu and you have heard that the Red Sox might need a team leader and the media is singing the praises of Hosmer; you have heard that he is a great clubhouse guy and potential leader.

But, your GM has praised you as well:

"“When general manager Rick Hahn lists Abreu’s attributes, the first baseman’s contributions in the clubhouse rank as high as his output on the field, which, by the way, is another reason Hahn will be looking for a huge return in any trade.”"

You’re Jose Abreu and thinking the Red Sox had their leader with Big Papi and now Dustin Pedroia has been thrust into that role.  You hope you will not be pushed by the Boston media into “the leader of the team—the next David Ortiz,” but you are willing to grow into it, if needed.

You’re Jose Abreu and you know your GM Hahn is putting it out that he is not desperate to trade you:

"“Everything is in play…Even a couple of years back, when we came to these meetings, there would be all these Chris Sale rumors, and the reason is because we had to keep our options open and at least have those types of conversations. … It would be foolish for any of us to break off a conversation because you never know whether in that conversation or six months later (it) leads to a fit that serves us well.”"

However, FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweeted that the White Sox have been in “active talks” with the Red Sox and “others” on Abreu. The Red Sox have long coveted Abreu and were in the running when the White Sox signed the Cuban star in 2013.

And Fangraphs said:

"“Abreu would upgrade the team’s offense in the short-term without requiring the kind of contract that could hamper the team’s efforts to win in the future. Abreu makes plenty of sense for the Red Sox, and maybe more sense than any of the free agents.”"

You’re Jose Abreu and you worry that there may be a fly in the Gatorade:

ESPN’s Scott Lauber reported that the White Sox want “an arm and both legs” in a trade for first baseman Jose Abreu.

You’re Jose Abreu and you were a Cuban defector and you remember some of your countrymen who have made it big in MLB:  The largest contract given to a Cuban defector was outfielder Rusney Castillo‘s seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, signed in 2014, worth $72.5 million. First baseman José Dariel Abreu signed a six-year contract worth $68 million with the Chicago White Sox in 2013. The largest contract given to a pitcher was the $32 million the New York Yankees gave to José Contreras in 2002, while the Cincinnati Reds signed Aroldis Chapman for $30.25 million in 2010.

You’re Jose Abreu and you take some pride in your own career and you smile as you recall your Rookie year: you won the AL Silver Slugger Award for first basemen, becoming the only White Sox first baseman besides Frank Thomas to ever gain the honor. And you are proud that you were unanimously named the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year by the BBWAA on November 10, 2014.

You’re Jose Abreu and you are looking forward to 2018.  Steamer projects you for .291/30/94 with SLG% .522 and Hosmer for .293/26/93 with SLG% .483. And RotoChamps says you are worth $1.25 more than Hosmer [$26.59 to $25.34].

Next: Five free agents for Red Sox to avoid

You’re Jose Abreu and, although you would really love to spend your entire career with the White Sox, if you have to be traded, it would be a blessing to go from a rebuilding team to one that is always in contention for the AL East and, maybe even the World Series.