The Houston Astros, who won the World Series just 23 days ago, managed to get even better Monday, signing veteran All-Star first baseman and former MVP Jose Abreu to a three-year contract worth about $58.5 million, two officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The Astros, who already have one of most powerful lineups in baseball, aren’t stopping now. They have also had talks with All-Star free agent catcher Willson Contreras, and internal discussions about the possibility of acquiring free agent outfielder Andrew Benintendi or Cody Bellinger.
The Astros have also reached out to former batting champion Yuli Gurriel in an attempt to retrain the free agent in a utility role.
FREE AGENT RANKINGS: Ranking MLB's top 87 free agents, from Aaron Judge to Corey Dickerson
'NO IDEA HOW LOVED HE REALLY IS': Dusty Baker's friends share in joy of manager's first World Series championship
Certainly, Houston already has a Who’s Who at the top of the order with All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, World Series MVP shortstop Jeremy Pena, All-Star left fielder Yordan Alvarez, All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman, All-Star right fielder Kyle Tucker and now Abreu.
Abreu, 35, who has spent his first nine seasons with the Chicago White Sox, has been one of the top run-producers in baseball. He ranks fourth in WAR among first basemen since 2016, trailing only 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman, 2022 MVP Paul Goldschmidt and three-time All-Star Anthony Rizzo.
Abreu, a leader in the White Sox clubhouse, fits in perfectly in the Astros’ lineup with a contact percentage rate of 76.7%, and strikeout rate of 19.8%. He hit .304 with an .824 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage), including a career-high 62 walks. Yet, he also hit a career-low 15 homers and drove in 75 runs, the fewest in a full season.
While the White Sox greatly valued Abreu, they decided at the season’s conclusion to part ways to make room for Andrew Vaughn, a natural first baseman who was playing left field.
Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Astros to sign Jose Abreu, former AL MVP, to World Series winning team