Why didn’t the Red Sox sign José Abreu?
The Boston Red Sox are in need of a new designated hitter now that JD Martinez is a free agent, and José Abreu was reportedly their top target before he signed a three-year, $58M deal with the Houston Astros.
They’re likely overpaying Abreu, but since the Sox have plenty of money to spend, they’re drawing criticism for seemingly letting the skilled hitter slip through their fingers. Their several roster mistakes and bad decisions in recent years don’t help their case.
However, it’s worth noting that the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Guardians each made 3-year offers to Abreu as well, and both are in better positions to contend next season than the Sox. When faced with four bidders, Abreu likely chose the Astros not only because of the money but also because as reigning World Series champions, they offer him the best chance of winning a ring before he retires. The number of years and amount of money Boston offered aren’t public knowledge, either.
And on Monday evening, analyst and radio host Marino Pepén offered a different perspective on losing Abreu:
"“Letting José Abreu ($60MM over 3 years) pass shows that the #RedSox big money goes to Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers.”"
In 2022, Abreu played more games than Martinez but hit fewer doubles and home runs. Abreu is also a year and a half older, so paying him almost the same AAV the Sox just finished paying Martinez from age 30-35 could’ve turned out to be a costly mistake.
The Sox need to focus their energy and financial flexibility on Bogaerts, Devers, and pitching, above all. They also have internal candidates and they have enough wiggle room in the farm system to make some real trades, so for the first time in several years, the free-agent market isn’t their only means of improvement.
As long as the money they just saved actually gets spent on the right players, losing out on Abreu will be a blip on the radar by Opening Day.