Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at potentially available players that the Cardinals could target. First up is Jose Abreu, first baseman for the Chicago White Sox.
With the Sox in full rebuild mode, many speculate that Abreu will be available to teams needing thump in their lineup. He’ll be 31 when the 2018 season starts, so he’d be a little old for a rebuild.
Over his 4 years in the majors, he’s hit at least 25 homers and 100 RBIs in each season; his lowest WAR was 2016, where he was worth 2.8 wins. Through yesterday, he had a 4.7 WAR, which would be the second highest of his short career.
His 3 year average of his slash line is .297/.353/.510, which is solid; he also sports a .213 ISO over the past 3 years. It would also provide a team with a true middle of the order hitter.
If the Cardinals were interested, what should they expect? I show a potential .286/.352/.492 slash line, with 24 homers and 91 RBIs. My system projects his WAR at 2.9.
The main detriment to his projection was his comps by age; many are from 50+ years ago, with the exceptions being Kendrys Morales, Lyle Overbay, and Josh Hamilton. The recent guys were all decent players, but they weren’t guys who brought much to their lineups at this point. The comps, overall, averaged a WAR of 2.0, below his 3 year average.
The comps were also pretty healthy; of the 8 who played at age 31, 5 played at least 135 games and 6 were over 100.
The projections make me a little wary; I will throw this disclaimer though…the numbers and comps could change after the season. It might be something I revisit in a few weeks.
What about the cost? Abreu is arbitration eligible and under team control through 2020. His team control will raise the price of him, along with his good 2017 season. The White Sox have done pretty well with trades over the last year, so his cost will probably be high.
I’d expect they’d start by asking about Alex Reyes, but it’ll be a package comparable to Jack Flaherty, Harrison Bader, and Edmundo Sosa to get him. The issue with this package is all 3 players are on the 40-man; you might have to switch out some guys, like Dakota Hudson, Jose Adolis Garcia, Andrew Knizner, or Austin Gomber, so they don’t overload their 40-man with younger players and start service clocks.
I like Abreu, but there might be some better guys available for a less prospect cost. There are also some younger guys available on the free agent market. I’d definitely keep an eye on Abreu if other options don’t pan out.
Have suggestions for players the Cardinals should target in trades or free agency? Send me an email or post them in the comments and I’ll look at them in future installments.