Just when you thought Theo Epstein and the Cubs were the only team in the Windy City gobbling up international prospects, the Southsiders go and nab themselves the biggest fish in the Caribbean Sea by signing Cuban 1B José Abreu to a 6 year $68 Million deal. That easily surpasses the previous largest contract for a Cuban player, which was Yasiel Puig’s 6/$42 Million, and among all international signings, which was Texas’ Yu Darvish with 6/$60 Million. The White Sox were in need of a power-hitting 1B with the expected departure of Paul Konerko and they seem to have found their solution in Abreu.
Abreu is 26 years old and will turn 27 before next year starts. He has had a storied career in Cuba having hit 30+ home runs on multiple occasions and over .400 three years ago. It’s hard to get definitive statistics on Abreu but what can be said is that he’s been an absolute terror at the plate notwithstanding that he had a down year last year. Although he’s not as young as Puig or a player like José Fernandez, he’s got the skills to make up for that at the plate. Yoenis Céspedes just turned 28 today and he was not only an All-Star for the AL West Champion Oakland A’s but he also won the Home Run Derby in Chase Field this past summer. Abreu is reported to have far more power than Céspedes, and in a park that is far more friendly to hitters than the Oakland Coliseum Abreu could hit some long home runs.
Abreu was someone that the White Sox didn’t need – they wanted. They could’ve brought Paul Konerko back on a one-year deal and let him try and fix what ailed him last year. With Abreu now in the fold and slated to start at 1B from Spring Training it allows the Sox to immediately plug a power hitter into the cleanup spot. Furthermore, he’ll give pitchers a righty-lefty look with him and Dunn going back-to-back. As a right-handed power hitter, Abreu keeps that intact for Ventura next year. The White Sox still have so much to do, but with this signing they’ve taken a huge step forward in trying to rebuild the Southsiders into a contender in the AL Central. Look for the White Sox to continue spending on offensive production in offseason with this move perhaps foreshadowing some future moves after free agency begins on December 3rd.