Top 20 free agents & where they’ll sign part 2
By Neil Raymond
12. José Abreu, 1B
2 Years/$34 Million with the Miami Marlins
José Abreu had the highest WAR of any first baseman on the market at 4.2. He batted .304/.378/.446 with 15 HR and 75 RBI in 157 games and 601 AB. Abreu has been remarkably consistent and avoided serious injuries throughout his career. Excluding the shortened 2020 season, the lowest game total in his career has been 128 in 2018. His second lowest was 145 in 2017. He played at least 152 games in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022.
Are there any red flags with him? He is 35 years old now and will play all of next season at 36. His power also went down quite a bit in 2022, going down from 30 home runs in 2021 to just 15 in 2022. Interestingly, his EV actually improved from 92.0 to 92.2 making that drop pretty bizarre. Still, his age will almost certainly scare quite a few teams off.
A positive about José Abreu is that he won’t have a qualifying offer attached to him, after having it already during his last trip through free agency. Based on his age, I think that he will be limited to 2 years and $16-17 million per year.
Who will pursue him? The Miami Marlins immediately stick out to me, considering he’s from Cuba and might welcome playing in Little Havana. We also need a first baseman, a clubhouse leader and a middle of the order bat. José Abreu checks all of those boxes. The Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins are options too, but Abreu might prefer the warmer Miami weather and Cleveland might not want to give out an expensive contract (by their standards).