Cubs ‘Will Express Strong Interest’ in José Abreu Once FA Negotiations Open
After initially reporting a few weeks ago that the Cubs liked José Abreu as an option to bolster their first base/DH depth, Bruce Levine is back will a report that Jed Hoyer and Co. “will express strong interest” in bringing the former White Sox star to the North Side. Abreu is already a free agent but can’t negotiate with other teams until November 10, once the five-day moratorium lifts. That doesn’t mean he’s oblivious to all this or that back-channel nudges haven’t already begun.
A right-handed batter whose strikeout numbers improved as his power output dropped, Abreu would provide veteran leadership and a professional bat to help as Matt Mervis transitions to the bigs. As alarming as the drop in home runs may be to those scouting the box score, he still hit the ball very hard in 2022. The only real difference from previous seasons was a lower launch angle, something that can be adjusted moving forward. The dude loves hitting at Wrigley too, so that will help.
One very important note in Levine’s piece is that “a long-term commitment is not expected — or likely desired” by Abreu, a statement that does not come off as speculation. That would be exactly what the Cubs are looking for, probably in the $30-35 million range. The 35-year-old should still be able to produce at a high level for two more years and it’s not an albatross in either time or money even if he doesn’t.
As for the other big first baseman many Cubs fans have pined for, what was already a very unlikely reunion with Anthony Rizzo just become more so. Rizzo opted out of $16 million left on his Yankees deal and is being given a qualifying offer that will guarantee him $19.65 million while hurting his value on the open market. It was already reported that he prefers to re-sign with the Yankees and that possibility just got a lot stronger.
In addition to their pursuit of Japanese righty Koudai Senga, I expect the Cubs to make a run at Abreu as soon as they’re able.