Friday, October 18, 2013

Sources: White Sox agree to deal with Cuban slugger Jose Abreu

The White Sox have agreed to a six-year, $68 million contract with Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu, according to multiple reports.

Abreu, 26, is a right-handed power hitter, but other than that, I don't know much about him. We do know he went 9-for-25 with three home runs and nine RBIs in last spring's World Baseball Classic.

I haven't seen Abreu play a single game in my life, and unlike other self-appointed "experts," I don't pretend to know whether this is a good move for the Sox.

But I'll tell you this much: The Sox need a first baseman, and they need some guys who can hit in the middle of the order. When you look at the current roster, it's hard to figure out who is going to fill the Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 spots in the batting order next year. You assume right fielder Avisail Garcia is one of those guys, but after that, who do you have?

Paul Konerko will be 38 next Opening Day, and he doesn't have a contract for next year. Adam Dunn has hit a combined .197 in his three seasons on the South Side. I'm sure the Sox would love to trade Dunn and get out from underneath the last year of his contract. Alex Rios was traded in August, and Dayan Viciedo failed to take a step forward in 2013 as the Sox had hoped. Where are the impact bats?

Obviously, the Sox are really lacking in run producers, and if their scouts believe Abreu can fill that void, then good for the front office for going out and acquiring him. Yeah, the price is high, but if you believe in a player's talent, then you shouldn't be shy about pulling the trigger on a deal. The Sox can't afford to be passive coming off a 99-loss season.

If this Abreu signing fails, well, then somebody will probably pay with their job. That somebody won't be me, so I don't care. I'm just glad to see the Sox moving aggressively to try to upgrade their roster. I'll gladly take that over bringing back the same cast of characters from this past summer.

Boston takes 3-2 lead in ALCS

All of a sudden, Mike Napoli is the best hitter in the Boston lineup. The catcher-turned-first baseman hit a solo home run to win Game 3 of the ALCS for the Red Sox earlier this week, and he was at it again Thursday night. Napoli hit a monstrous 460-foot home run off Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez to open the scoring and finished with three hits and two runs scored as the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 4-3, in Game 5.

With the win, Boston will take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series back to Fenway Park for Game 6.

It's tempting to count the Tigers out. Detroit hasn't been hitting. In particular, cleanup hitter Prince Fielder has been terrible in the postseason. He's swinging at everything, and he has no RBIs in the playoffs thus far. He heard boos from the restless Comerica Park faithful on Thursday night.

But, Detroit has 21-game winner Max Scherzer lined up to pitch Game 6 on Saturday. If the Tigers win that, they'll have Justin Verlander ready to go on regular rest for Game 7. If the Red Sox are to finish the job and reach the World Series, they will have to beat a quality pitcher to do so. Home-field advantage will be working in their favor.

Boston will send Clay Buchholz to the mound on Saturday.


  1. I like this move especially because there just isn't a good free agent option at first base, and not really one in the White Sox minor league system. Abreu was possibly their only real option for upgrading a position where they received horribly inadequate play.

    The move cost a lot of money, but not so much that the Sox couldn't also reach for another bat in free agency. It's a good start, too, in that even if they try for a Curtis Granderson or Carlos Beltran and fall short, they won't come away empty-handed with regard to upgrading an offense that was just putrid.

    Even if Abreu is as good as they hope, it still won't make the Sox contenders. But between a good pitching staff, Abreu and Garcia, plus whatever minor pieces they can cobble together, the team shouldn't be as unwatchable as it was last year.

  2. Yeah, they have nothing in their system at 1B. They needed a long-term solution at the position, not a stopgap. If they think this is the guy, I'm glad they went for it. Why not? The Sox have a ton of work to do to get back to contender status, but you gotta start somewhere.