Jose Abreu hits the open market as a free agent for the first time since he was signed by the Chicago White Sox prior to the 2014 season.
Abreu is coming off one of the best seasons of his career for the Chicago White Sox, hitting .284/.330/.503 with 33 home runs and an American League-leading 123 RBI. That gave him a 117 wRC+ and 1.9 fWAR.
However, for a hitter of that caliber, a 1.9 fWAR is actually pretty low and that is due to the fact that defense is not a specialty for him as he registered -4 DRS and a -1.9 UZR at first base, according to FanGraphs.
While those numbers aren’t significantly below average, it was enough that the team decided to use him as their DH for 34 games this season.
Now, that is all fine and well, but when a player is a free agent, these are things that have to be taken into account even if the player has strong ties to the organization like Abreu.
Another thing that needs to be considered is that he is already 32-years-old and will be 33 before Opening Day in 2020.
So, with that being the case, the team needs to really be careful about the type of contract they are willing to offer.
In my opinion, with those flaws being taken into account, he should not be making a salary as high as the one he did in 2019, which was $16 million.
Maybe, if the team were to only sign him to a one-year deal, that would change things, but if he’s looking for a multi-year deal, he certainly should not get any higher than that number and should even get a number more like $12 million per year.
The next thing to decide on is how many years they should be comfortable giving Abreu,
I’d say that three years should be the absolute max for someone entering his age-33 season and with the way that power hitters have been not valued as highly in recent free-agent classes, it really should only require a two-year deal to retain him.
There are other power hitters on the open market that could supply the team with similar production to Abreu as well such as Nicholas Castellanos, who is only 27-years-old, and J.D. Martinez, who is arguably better than Abreu.
Those players might cost more and could possibly be signed along with Abreu. That being said, if Abreu needs time at DH, neither one would be a great option given they both are significantly below-average outfielders defensively.
Jose Abreu should be a priority for the Chicago White Sox this offseason, but they need to be careful about the type of contract they offer him and should be prepared to move on from him if there are more cost-efficient options available.