One of the Cubs’ top targets, and one of the best hitters on the market outside of Aaron Judge, has come off the board. As initially reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and confirmed by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, former White Sox slugger José Abreu is joining the Astros on a three-year deal. Financial terms had not been reported as of first publication.
The Cubs were supposedly going to act quickly in their courtship of Abreu, who seemed like a perfect fit for a young team that needs power, leadership, and a DH/first baseman. But the Astros are clearly an even perfecter fit coming off of another World Series win with money to burn and a big hole at first base. Houston had reportedly identified Anthony Rizzo as its top target, then pivoted aggressively when Rizzo re-upped with the Yankees.
In addition to joining a team that is most certainly willing and able to compete immediately, getting that third year probably helped Abreu make up his mind. Most predictions had him landing a two-year deal for less than $40 million, so he may be getting a good deal more money as well.
Between this and the Mike Clevinger deal on the South Side, it’s possible the market will start moving quicker even with the superstars still waiting things out. For the Cubs, that could mean having to get more aggressive in order to avoid missing out on other players on their wish list. Then again, first base is a position with a lot more breadth than depth now that Abreu is gone.
Ed. note: Yes, it was intentional.
Update: Houston Chronicle Astros beat writer Chandler Rome tweeted that the deal is “expected to be around $60 million,” which is most certainly richer than what the Cubs were willing to offer. Good for Abreu, though, that’s way over what pretty much anyone guessed. The deal is actually worth $58.5 million ($19.5 AAV).
Hearing the Astros' deal with José Abreu is expected to be around $60 million.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) November 28, 2022