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Astros release Jose Abreu – MLB Trade Rumors

The Astros announced Friday that they have released the first baseman Jose Abreu. The former American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player is in the second season of a three-year, $58.5MM contract. Houston will eat the rest of the money Abreu was owed in that deal. A similar move will be announced by the club later today. With Abreu’s release opening up a spot on the 40-man roster, it’s possible the ‘Stros will bring in someone from outside the organization.

Although Abreu often exceeded expectations in getting that three-year deal, few would have predicted the contract would go so badly. Abreu hit .237/.296/.383 with Houston last season and began the 2024 season in such a disastrous funk that the veteran was optioned when he was 7-71 on the season. Since returning, Abreu hasn’t looked better, hitting .167/.186/.333 in 43 trips to the plate.

Overall, Abreu’s time with the team would end with a shocking .217/.275/.351 line in 714 plate appearances. That’s about 28% worse than the league average, by wRC+ average. Combined with below-average defense at first base, Abreu had 1.6 hits below replacement rate, per Baseball-Reference, and two full wins below replacement per FanGraphs.

Although there were some signs of decline in 2022, Abreu still hit .304/.378/.446 that season. A good portion of his power was undervalued (hence the pedestrian .141 ISO and career-low 15 homers), and a fair portion of his production was supported by a .350 average on balls in play that Abreu would never achieve. keep for a long time. The Astros, who are without a general manager for the first half of the season, are still paying a hefty annual fee to sign Abreu in his late 30s, with owner Jim Crane leading negotiations on that deal and moving forward. Rafael MonteroHis incredible three-year deal. While the length of the deal was not surprising, it pales in comparison to how surprising the rate of Abreu’s decline has been.

Between Abreu no Jon Singleton, Houston’s lack of production at first was near the bottom of all of Major League Baseball. Only the Rockies – Chris Bryant, Elehuris Montero, Michael Toglia again Hunter Goodman – saw their first basemen combine to produce less output than the Astros’ .181/.262/.291 batting line. That lack of offense from a roster-heavy spot was one of the many reasons for the Astros’ disappointing 31-38 record. Houston sits eight games back of the division-leading Mariners and six games back in the AL Wild Card hunt (with six teams to jump for one of those three spots).

Abreu’s contract will now be dead money on the Astros’ payroll this year and next. The luxury tax still counts, even though it is no longer on the list. That dead money also adds to a troubling long-term outlook that raises legitimate questions about the team’s ability to continue fielding a perennial contender. Despite their questionable long-term vision and their 2024 issues, however, general manager Dana Brown — who was hired after Abreu’s signing — insisted that his team will not be a seller and that he expects to work as a buyer in the future. until next month’s trade deadline. The Astros are reportedly interested in adding more starting pitchers.

More to come.

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