MLB/3-Year Signing Former MVP Veteran Jose Abreu Are the Astros’ bets justified?

Jose Abreu will join the Houston Astros. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

When a team’s combat strength is close to saturation, it will take risks in order to maintain its dominance. The Houston Astros’ three-year deal to recruit former American League MVP 35-year-old Cuban hitman Jose Abreu is the best example.

About Abreu, my friendcity ​​wallI reviewed his great achievements in the Chicago White Sox a few days ago, so I won’t repeat them here. To put it simply, in recent years, the production capacity of American League first basemen has generally been mediocre, and Abreu is regarded as the leader of American League first basemen.

Looking at the data of the past three seasons (including 2019 to 2022), Abreu has accumulated 11.1fWAR (first in the league), 97 home runs (second in the league), .355 on-base percentage, .493 slugging percentage and 130 Statistics such as wRC+ (third in the league) are basically outstanding among American League first basemen.

Although Abreu’s home run production has plummeted this year, with only 15 left, Abreu still performs well in terms of hard hit rate (HardHit%) and batting initial velocity. This year’s 16.2% strikeout rate is a new low in his major league career.

The Astros signing Jose Abreu is actually a good bet. Abreu’s age is indeed a daunting factor, but replacing the already degraded Yuli Gurriel with Abreu is still a significant upgrade. It is worth mentioning that Abreu’s type of hitter is in line with the batting philosophy of the Astros in recent years to have both batting quality and batting control.

What’s more, Abreu will also come to Houston to get a short bonus in the left field of the Minute Maid Stadium. Unless there is an outrageous collapse in skill and production capacity, we can expect Abreu to continue to deliver considerable data results.

(圖為Abreu在2022年主場比賽的擊球分布,如果把主場改為太空人主場後成績會有所提升。)

(The picture shows the batting distribution of Abreu’s home game in 2022. If the home game is changed to the Astros’ home game, the results will improve.)

After talking about his performance and production capacity, let’s look at the amount and the number of years. 60 million in 3 years seems too much, but it’s not complete. 3 years later, it will be the arbitration period for Kyle Tucker, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy and Framber Valdez At the end, he will become a free agent, but at this time Abreu will also enter the free agent market at the same time, so the current average annual salary of 20 million reported by the local media will no longer affect the Astros to leave their space.

Others include Rafael Montero, who recently renewed his contract for 3 years, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, who have 2 years left in their contract, and veterans such as Ryan Pressly, Hector Neris, Martin Maldonado, etc. It is expected that they will either leave the team or discuss new contracts. It’s still too early to say how these new contracts will affect the Astros’ future development.

In addition, whether the Astros will keep Justin Verlander, or find another left fielder to protect Yordan Alvarez, who has been knifed in both knees, is our next point to watch. Verlander and the new left fielder are likely to get the contract amount, which may bring the Astros’ team salary in 2023 to at least 180 million, or even higher. Coupled with the salary cost after the salary arbitration, it will be interesting to see whether it will break through the first-level luxury tax line of 233 million.

However, Verlander expects that the contract will also tend to be short-term. Therefore, in the long run, unless there is a deliberate delay in payment, it is expected that the salary cost of the Astros will not be affected after one or two years. As for left field, if you want to recruit troops, you probably won’t sign a high-value long-term contract. Therefore, judging from various factors, although Abreu’s contract is expensive, it will not compress the Astros’ operating space.

Moreover, judging from the recent trend of the Astros giving Montero and Abreu three-year contracts, they hope to consolidate the last peak period of the core players of Altuve, Bregman, and Verlander, who is expected to renew the contract, and continue to consolidate. Hegemony establishes a dynasty, and then Tucker, Alvarez and Jeremy Pena will continue to form the next batch of three pillars. And Abreu, who is still in his prime, is a good candidate to be promoted to first base. Anyway, he didn’t come in to be the number one main force of the line, but to assist the current core. If the fifth-best hitter in the lineup is Jose Abreu, that’s pretty intimidating.

Jose Altuve(圖左)與Jose Abreu 2023球季起成為隊友。(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jose Altuve (pictured left) and Jose Abreu have become teammates since the 2023 season. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

All in all, the Astros signed Abreu, although in terms of age and length, it is a little too expensive, but considering that this contract is in line with the Astros’ long-term timeline blueprint and short-term goal of seeking consecutive championships (of course, Abreu himself must also hope can win the championship), the combination of the Astros and Abreu is remarkable. Of course, this is the current comment after signing the contract, and how it will develop in the future, everything will be decided by Jose Abreu’s stick.

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