The Boston Red Sox have an opening at first base. With Jose Abreu possibly on the block, he would be a good fit.
Around Major League Baseball, this time of year is typically full of wild trade rumors and possible free agent destinations. Twitter is usually a consistent feeder of rumors, fake or real. The MLB hot stove is usually at it’s hottest this time of year.
But this offseason has seen the burners turned off.
Aside from some Giancarlo Stanton rumors, it seems as though there has been absolutely nothing to quench our dire thirst for baseball transactions.
That was the case until today.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox have been in active talks regarding first basemen Jose Abreu. The Red Sox were in competition with the White Sox, as well as the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros, to sign Abreu as an international free agent in 2013.
Last season, Abreu batted .304 with 33 home runs and 102 RBI. His OBP of .354 was also very impressive.
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As the Red Sox distance themselves from the Stanton saga, they seem to be choosing the more cost-effective route as Abreu is due only $10.825 million in 2017 and would be arbitration-eligible in 2018 and 2019.
But as this Abreu possibility develops, it’s beginning to make a lot more sense. In some ways, it’s not a bad consolation prize for not getting Stanton.
For one, they’d be saving money with Abreu. The Red Sox are a big market team and have unlimited funds. Stanton wouldn’t be a huge problem, but this team already has a plethora of huge contracts and they’re only going to get more of them. Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Chris Sale are all due for large paydays in the future.
If the Red Sox can fill up the power hitter role with a cheaper option, they will.
Also, they don’t necessarily need another outfielder whereas they’re in the market for a first basemen. Mitch Moreland‘s a free agent but the Red Sox don’t seem in any rush to re-sign him.
Unlike Stanton, Abreu didn’t almost hit 60 home runs last year. But, he’s a more complete hitter and like Stanton, would abuse the green monster in left field. In his 16 career games at Fenway, Abreu’s batting .354 with four home runs and 14 RBI. Also to note are his eight doubles.
The dilemma would be what the Red Sox would have to give up for the Cuban slugger.
Since joining the Red Sox’s front office, Dave Dombrowski has stripped the franchise of its great farm system. Just last offseason, the Red Sox dealt with the White Sox and gave up top prospects 2B Yoan Moncada and RHP Michael Kopech for LHP Chris Sale.
The White Sox are rebuilding and will most likely ask for a good amount in-return for Abreu since it doesn’t seem as though the ChiSox are in desperate need to get rid of him.
If I were to guess, the return for Abreu would include a top prospect and a major leaguer. The top prospect? 3B Michael Chavis. The major leaguers? Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. Either of them would fit in a package back with Chavis.
If this trade were to happen, and the Red Sox did lose Bradley, they would have the option of signing OF J.D. Martinez. By adding another power bat and solidifying the outfield, the Red Sox could finally settle on having a complete, well-rounded lineup.
All in all, for the Boston Red Sox, would it have been better to trade for Stanton? Yes, it would have. But settling for Jose Abreu is a fine alternative.