Mariners Free Agency Target: First Baseman Jose Abreu
We are trying to come out with a Free Agent profile or two every day here at Sodo Mojo. Yesterday, I wrote one on Josh Bell and why I think it could be a nice lower-caliber match for the Mariners. I figured, “Why not stick at First Base” and decided to write about the possibility of the Mariners going after a former MVP in Jose Abreu.
It doesn’t sound like Abreu is going to go back to the White Sox, even with a new manager at the helm. He isn’t the player that he once was, but he still seems talented enough to make a difference on a contender over a short-term deal.
The Mariners should make some serious inquiries to Jose Abreu
Look, I want the Mariners to get a massive bat or two just as much as the next guy. Probably more, cause I have to deal with lots of negative comments on a daily basis that I see online from running the site. There are only so many bats, and some teams are going to end up sad and upset that they didn’t get one of the… 6 (?) massive bats (Judge, Nimmo, Correa, Turner, Bogaerts, and Swanson, in no particular order).
If the Mariners end up being one of those teams that don’t get him, I think Abreu could be a very interesting signing for the Mariners. He’s going to be 36 during the 2023 season, so he is getting fairly close to the end of his career. We aren’t going to see some five-year deal from him, but a short-term 2/3 year deal is very probable.
He’s not a great defender, but insert Perry Hill, yadda yadda yadda, and maybe he could be average or so. He’s been about a negative 0.7-1.0 the last five years at first, so we sort of know what we are getting there.
On offense, we are getting a pretty darn good hitter. The power might be going away a bit, but the average jumped back up to 300+ in 2022. Let’s take a look at his last few years while remembering that 2020 was the shortened year.
- 2018 – .265/.325/.473, 22 HR, 36 2B, 117 OPS+, 128 Games, 2.0 WAR
- 2019 – .284/.330/.503, 33 HR, 38 2B, 118 OPS+, 159 Games, 2.5 WAR
- 2020 – .317/.370/.617, 19 HR, 15 2B, 165 OPS+, 60 Games, 3.0 WAR
- 2021 – .261/.351/.481, 30 HR, 30 2B, 124 OPS+, 152 Games, 3.0 WAR
- 2022 – .301/.378/.446, 15 HR, 40 2B, 133 OPS+, 157 Games, 4.2 WAR
He’s a great hitter, and it’s likely going to take a bit more to get him than it would to get Bell. He does, reportedly, have great makeup and clubhouse rapport, so he could fit right in with the rest of the Mariners clubhouse and take over the veteran role that Carlos Santana had. So, how much would it take to get someone like Abreu?
The Mariners could sign Jose Abreu to a 2YR/$42 Million dollar deal
It sounds like a lot, but Abreu isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Yeah, the power was down, but he also hit .301 with 40 2Bs. Could we see a type of Nelson Cruz late career stretch from Abreu? Not in the power surge, but in a 300-hitter with 20 HR? I think it’s very possible. If we could get a near 300 hitter who likes to slash doubles and rip singles, we could see a sneaky 110 rbi season out of a guy like that with the talent that the mariners have in their lineup.
I still think I might rather have Josh Bell if you can get him for nearly half price, but Abreu has a WAY higher ceiling, has performed better, and is going to command a higher price. If the Mariners end up with Abreu, I think I would be happy with it.