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Report: José Abreu, Astros Agree to 3-year Contract Worth Around $60M in Free Agency

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVNovember 28, 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 22: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates in the dugout with teammates after scoring in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 22, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Houston Astros and free-agent first baseman José Abreu reportedly agreed to a three-year contract Monday.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported the deal, while Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reported the contract will be worth "around" $60 million when finalized.

Abreu, 35, spent his first nine MLB seasons with the Chicago White Sox. He hit .304/.378/.446 with 15 home runs and 75 runs batted in while appearing in 157 games last season.

While he remained an effective hitter in the middle of the White Sox lineup, Abreu's power numbers took a noticeable dip in 2022. His 15 homers were by far a career low—he even hit 19 during the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign.

“Taking a lot of walks has gotten him out of his hit-first rhythm,” White Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino said of Abreu in September, per Scott Merkin of MLB.com. "... I know he’s not happy with 15 homers. When you are a power hitter and you start trying to hit homers and get a little bit out of whack, it’s tough. I can't explain it. I would have never thought he'd only have 15."

On the plus side, Abreu set a career-best mark with a 16.2 percent strikeout rate and walked in 9.1 percent of his plate appearances (second-best for his career). There is also plenty of reason to believe Abreu's power numbers will improve in 2023. His hard-hit percentage was 51.9, which is actually above his career average, and his 92.2 exit velocity was also stellar.

There's a strong chance the Astros will be getting a positive regression to the mean from Abreu next season, particularly at the hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Given that first base was one of the biggest holes for Houston to fill this offseason, landing Abreu will go a long way toward helping the champs repeat in 2023.