First baseman Jose Abreu’s time on the South Side is officially over.
The White Sox slugger, who had played his entire nine-year career in Chicago since signing out of Cuba before the 2014 season, is reportedly in agreement on a three-year, $60 million deal with the World Series champion Houston Astros.
It had become increasingly apparent since the end of the season that the Sox were prepared to part ways with Abreu, 35, and move on with Andrew Vaughn moving from the outfield to his customary position. Vaughn was drafted as a first baseman with the first pick in the 2019 draft as a first baseman. The Sox also have numerous designated hitter options, including Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal.
In losing Abreu, the Sox say goodbye to one of their most productive hitters of all time. He batted .292/.354/.506 with 243 homers and 863 RBI in a Sox uniform. Only Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko have hit more homers in a Sox uniform.
Abreu had six seasons with 25 or more home runs and six with more than 100 RBI but recorded 15 homers and 75 RBI this season while batting .304/.378/.446. He signed a six-year, $68 million contract to leave Cuba for the Sox and just completed the third year of a $50 million contract.
For the Astros, Abreu’s signing brings an end to Yuli Gurriel’s tenure as their full-time first baseman.
Besides his value as a hitter, Abreu was a fan favorite and respected teammate. At the general managers meetings in Las Vegas last month, GM Rick Hahn spoke of Abreu’s accomplishments and value in the clubhouse as a tireless worker who led by example. Abreu was often the first player to show up for work, arriving around noon for night games, and he often played hurt.
“If he’s not with us next year he’ll be missed,” Hahn said. “It’s good that we’re insulated from a production standpoint against that departure. But certainly would never disrespect the importance he’s meant to this organization.”
The Astros open the 2023 season in Houston on March 30 against the Sox.