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Is Jose Abreu a worthy target?


Frobby
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There’s been talk that the O’s need another reliable middle of the order bat. Is Jose Abreu a worthy target, and what would he cost?

Abreu will be 36 next year, and has a career slash line of .292/.354/.506, good for a 134 OPS+.  2022 was an interesting year for him.  His .378 OBP was the highest since his rookie year, and he cut his strikeouts down by about 33% (from 143 to 110), while setting a career high in walks with 62.  On the other hand, his homers dropped from 30 to 15, and his ISO from .220 to .142.  

Looking at his Statcast numbers, he was  still ranked very highly on all batted ball measures, and his xSLG was 40 points over his actual.  So, there’s reason to hope for a power rebound next year.  

On the downside, he’ll be 36, his RH bat may be disadvantageous with the new Wall, and he’s exclusively a 1B/DH, meaning that when Adley isn’t catching, either he, Abreu or Mountcastle would have to sit.  

In terms of what we’d have to pay him, his last contract at age 33-35 was 3/$50.   I see him as somewhat comparable to Nelson Cruz in 2019, who at age 38, having more than fulfilled his 4/$56 mm contract with Seattle, had to settle for a one-year deal at $14 mm with a $12 mm team option. Abreu is two years younger than Cruz was then, but Cruz hadn’t had a big power drop off like Abreu did this year. I’d say 2/$35 mm definitely gets it done, probably something less than that.  Worth doing?


 

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From what I saw of him when the O's played the White Sox he is only a DH.   Very poor defensively at 1B.   I would rather have Mountcastle backed up with Westburg.

And as a DH, as you said, he would be a part time DH.  Would compete for at bats with Santander (when Stowers is in RF) and Adley (when he is not catching).    I would not say he has no value to the O's but it is limited.  We also have to realize that Norby is probably ready sometime in 2023 and his best position is bat.

If the O's trade someone like Santander or Stowers or Norby than  that might opens up some playing time.  But Abreu will cost more than any of these guys.

One year contract maybe with an option and I would not pay more than 6 to 10m depending of what the plan is for getting him playing time. 

Edited by wildcard
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I’d rather keep the DH open for flexibility than sign a strict DH bat, but if he was on the team I wouldn’t be too upset. I think the offense has a lot of potential next year and it’s the lack of pitching depth that is going to be an issue unless a couple more proven guys are brought in.  Abreu would be more of an accompanying piece in a successful offseason, and an unnecessary one at that. Another right handed bat isn’t exactly the greatest need in the lineup…but you know, he can hit. So, it’d be uninspiring move but an addition nonetheless.

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14 minutes ago, Sports Guy said:

Yes.  He has the type of bat this lineup needs.  I would be hesitant to guarantee 3 years though.  I would rather go 2 with a higher AAV or if you go three years, make the third year a lot cheaper and give him an opt out after 2..

What kind of bat is he?

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2 minutes ago, waroriole said:

What kind of bat is he?

Only twice in his career has his average been under 286. His career average is 292.

His career OBP is 350. Only 3 seasons are under 350 And one of those was 347.

Even in his down OBP years, he would have been one of the better OBP guys on the team.

As the statcast numbers show, he’s still a very good hitter.  The Os need some high average, high on base guys.

And while I know the RBI stat gets poo pooed, he knows how to drive in runs.  Over a career, the stat means something imo.  
 

The Os just lack bats like this one.  Plus he provides a vet bat with some playoff experience. 
 

I don’t love the age, which is why I only go so long on the deal and the wall could be an issue.  But no player is perfect.  They all have issues.  

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1 minute ago, Sports Guy said:

Only twice in his career has his average been under 286. His career average is 292.

His career OBP is 350. Only 3 seasons are under 350 And one of those was 347.

Even in his down OBP years, he would have been one of the better OBP guys on the team.

As the statcast numbers show, he’s still a very good hitter.  The Os need some high average, high on base guys.

And while I know the RBI stat gets poo pooed, he knows how to drive in runs.  Over a career, the stat means something imo.  
 

The Os just lack bats like this one.  Plus he provides a vet bat with some playoff experience. 
 

I don’t love the age, which is why I only go so long on the deal and the wall could be an issue.  But no player is perfect.  They all have issues.  

There’s a decent case to be made for him, but I think the negatives outweigh the reward. First concern is the outlier season with K% (dropping from career average of 19.8 to 16.2). That coincides with an outlier season in BABIP (increasing from .327 career to .350). I wonder if those outliers continue into next year. 
 

Second concern is power. He’ll be 36 next year and just came off a massive career low of 15 HR. He had more than that in the 60 game 2020 season. I don’t think aging RH power bats are the ideal target with Walltimore (I don’t like that name but don’t know a better way to call LF). 
 

Third concern is we already have Mountcastle there. I don’t want to tie up the DH spot all year. It will be good to rotate guys into the DH role, especially with already having the need to get Adley DH ABs. 
 

Now it’s possible that he’s a pure hitter who has adjusted to a drop in power with an increased focus on making contact. I haven’t watched enough of him to really say. But I think it’s just as likely he’s  a .270/.330/.420 hitter the next couple of years. If he were interested in a 2/25 type deal I’d be more open to it. It’s really dependent on what other moves they make this off-season. 

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I need to go look at his stats again but IIRC, 2022 is more an off year then declining/aging talent.  That’s the question for Abreu.
 

His best fit is if we can find a trade partner for Mountcastle.  We might lose some power but we would gain OBP and likely runs as a team.  And with LF as it is, OBP matters more than it has in the past.

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With a 36-year-old you always have to be prepared that this is the year he has a .650 OPS and is done.  Just so long as you build that into your plans I'm fine. 

But in a constrained not-really-free market like MLB there's almost always some team willing to give a free agent a silly contract. I don't think Abreu is the guy I'd outbid silly for.

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29 minutes ago, waroriole said:

Now it’s possible that he’s a pure hitter who has adjusted to a drop in power with an increased focus on making contact. I haven’t watched enough of him to really say. But I think it’s just as likely he’s  a .270/.330/.420 hitter the next couple of years. If he were interested in a 2/25 type deal I’d be more open to it. It’s really dependent on what other moves they make this off-season. 

If he has his 2021 BABIP and his 2022 ISO he'll hit .260 with a .400 SLG.

My fear is that older players often don't decline gracefully.  They're like Nelson Cruz.  Up through the first half of 2021 he'd been awesome for years.  Since then he's OPS'd about .675 as a full-time DH.

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I really don't know.

Love that he's a professional bat that really gets on base. Don't love the age. Don't love the defense. Don't discount the issue of Adley and Santander at DH. You're talking about a worse defensive team for 25% of our games.

Of interest, his spray chart looks almost like a random placement of dots. He does ground out to the left side a fair amount, but his outfield spray chart looks almost random, and is actually slightly tilted toward the right side.

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50 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

If he has his 2021 BABIP and his 2022 ISO he'll hit .260 with a .400 SLG.

My fear is that older players often don't decline gracefully.  They're like Nelson Cruz.  Up through the first half of 2021 he'd been awesome for years.  Since then he's OPS'd about .675 as a full-time DH.

His statcast numbers don’t show a player in decline.

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