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UPDATE: White Sox, Jose Abreu agree to six-year, $68 million deal

Oct 17, 2013, 11:13 PM EDT

Jose Abreu Getty Images

UPDATE: Jesse Sanchez of reports that the White Sox and Abreu have a deal, pending a physical. The two sides have agreed to a six-year, $68 million contract, confirming Rosenthal’s original report.

10:36 p.m. ET: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports confirms that the Rangers will not sign Abreu. He also hears that the White Sox are the favorites.

9:32 p.m. ET: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears that despite the Rangers’ interest, the White Sox are still expected to land Abreu.

9:15 p.m. ET: It’s not a done deal yet. T.R. Sullivan of reports that the Rangers are “definitely making a push” for Abreu. While the White Sox are also in the mix, one source familiar with the negotiations tells Sullivan that Texas is expected to sign him. Stay tuned.

8:40 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Cuban slugger Jose Abreu is close to finalizing terms on a six-year, $68 million contract. The 26-year-old is expected to land with the White Sox, confirming speculation from reports earlier today.

If true, this deal would be the richest first-time contract ever for an international player, topping Yu Darvish‘s six-year, $56 million contract with the Rangers. And just to compare this with other high-profile players from Cuba, Yasiel Puig inked a seven-year, $42 million deal with the Dodgers last June while Yoenis Cespedes received a four-year, $36 million contract from the Athletics two offseasons ago.

Abreu might not be as dynamic as Puig or Cespedes, but he’s highly regarded for his power potential. Assuming the deal gets one, he’ll take over first base from Paul Konerko in Chicago.

  1. piratecaptain12 - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Why the white sox? They have no farm system and bad pitching outside of sale. Are they aiming for .500? Why spend so much on a guy that is an unknown and probably not a superstar?

    • paperlions - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:57 PM

      My thoughts exactly. They are no where close to having a competitive roster even if Abreu is the best hitter in the league next year.

      • jdchicago - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:57 AM

        Avi Garcia and Abreu are 23 and 26. Should they sign Granderson 33, or have signed Hamilton 33 or Pujols who is really 39?……No. This is a good risk-high reward move.
        Who cares if you lose 99 games or 80 games if you dump 30 million in salary and aren’t making the playoffs anyways?

      • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:57 AM

        @paper, that was my first thought, but actually, looking at their roster, they have a number of young players with potential. They could contend quickly if they sign the right complementary players.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:56 AM

        Yeah, I guess it is better to be optimistic than not….but this feels an awful lot like a team working hard to max out at 80 wins. The WS problem is that their system is super model thin because they draft/develop for crap…it is going to be hard to build a team until they fix that.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:58 AM

        …but as a baseball fan, I am happy that he isn’t signing with one of the usual suspects….in case he does turn out to be better than average.

    • eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      They are paying him just over $11mm/yr. A win costs somewhere between $5.5mm and $7.1mm. His bat seems legitimate. This contract could be very valuable. And that value can be exchanged for other pieces later.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:07 AM

        A win only costs that on the FA market, which is the most expensive way to add wins. The FA market is rife with overpays and teams buying into declining markets (paying players for what they have done rather than what they are expected to do during the deal). The only reason the “average” cost of a win in FA is around $5M is because of horrible deals like those of ARod, Pujols, and Hamilton.

        Based on the logic that a win above replacement should cost you $5M, then $150M payroll will get you about 78 wins as a replacement level team would win about 48 games. This is a poor use of the concept of value as it is heavily weighted based on multiple poor contracts given out to aging players (it would be even worse if bad extensions were included, like those given to Ethier, Pence, and Howard). It would be much more appropriate to look at the average cost of a WAR overall, not just in FA, to determine the value of a contract….because FA is the most expensive way to buy wins.

    • jlovenotjlo - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      6 year deal, The White Sox plan on competing for the playoffs in 2015.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      Remember when Cespedes signed with the A’s and everyone asked why? Sometimes overhauling a team takes more than a few draft picks.

      • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:16 AM

        Yes, but the A’s are a smartly run organization with a talented and deep MiLB system. The White Sox are not. The WS have little pitching and no hitting close to the majors, they traded away Peavy. Next year’s team doesn’t look like it’ll be much different than this year’s version…and the 2015 version doesn’t look like it’ll be much different either (at least, they won’t be getting substantial help from within the system).

    • jdchicago - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:50 AM

      The Sox dumped Rios and Peavy and about 30 million. Prospects??? Oh that…You mean Chris Sale and Addison Reed who are in their early 20’s and have 3 years of MLB experience?
      They traded away five guys at the deadline. Would you rather they have the Cubs or the Royals propsects and no World Series win in the last decade? But I am guessing you are a pirate fan, correct? Good luck making the playoffs and having Liriano and all the bullpen success again in the next decade. The Sox have pitching….Not “bad pitching” outside of Sale. Look at the ages and their arms. They lost because of poor defense and bad hitting.

    • brhodes14 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:27 AM

      Lets be honest, the Sox don’t have the option of getting completely bad like the Cubs to get good, they still have to sell tickets. I see no reason why the Sox can’t turn it around at least in a few years. Abreu and Garcia is going to do some major damage in the middle of our lineup I’m all for the move. This guy is going into his prime

  2. eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Is he going to play 3B?

    • eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      Konerko is a FA? My mistake. I just couldn’t picture him playing on any other team.

      • yahmule - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        I think Big Paulie is going to call it a career.

      • jlovenotjlo - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        The plan was Konerko either doesn’t come back, or comes back in a more backup/assistant hitting coach/clubhouse presence type role. See: Giambi on the Indians this season.

        I don’t think this signing disqualifies Paulie from coming back in that role.

  3. cabrera24 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Dodgers did the same with puig , Oakland did the same with cespedes ? They both contribute . Why wouldn’t he be a superstar ? Do you guys watch baseball outside of US ? Come on

    • eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      Cespedes isn’t a superstar. But Abreu isn’t being paid like a superstar either.

      • jarathen - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:21 AM

        Cespedes has the talent. He’s just been bitten by the injury bug and plays in Oakland.

    • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:59 AM

      You can’t assume that his superstar numbers in Cuba will translate to the MLB. It is a lower level of competition. Clearly he’s not going to hit .460, or whatever his ridiculous stats in Cuba last season were.

      Yes, he could be a superstar, but it is far from certain.

      • blacksables - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:27 AM

        AA ball is a lower level of competition, but most commentors here wanted to put Bryce Harper in the Hall of Fame before he made it to the big leagues.

  4. mianfr - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    How can anyone be mad at the White Sox for doing this? Imagine they had a hotshot 1B prospect and called him up. Same thing.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      A hotshot 1b prospect costs about $500k a year for the first three years, Abreu’s deal of ~$11M a year is 2200% larger.

      And as the first commentor noted, the White Sox are far from contending.

      • mianfr - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        Who cares? This is a Chicago team. The White Sox have a lot of money.

        Yes, this is a huge premium, but they also didn’t have to pay a signing bonus and are acquiring a prospect immediately instead of drafting and grooming one, cutting down on volatility.

        Sure, it’s a bit of an overpay, but it’s not crazy. The White Sox are going to have a small payroll next year with or without him, and now at least they have the beginning of something to go on. They also won 85 games the year before; how easy was it to say they were already contending then?

        Things can flip pretty easily in sports and any time you have the opportunity to acquire an elite player with little at stake, you do it.

        It’s not like they’re trading Wil Myers so they can get above .500 finally. They’re adding a potentially valuable piece who can help them now and going forward, and it’s only costing them money.

      • esracerx46 - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:53 PM

        Thank you. Finally someone with some common sense. The Sox had nobody at 1b in their system. Rather than sign a stopgap guy or guys since it would take a few years to get someone. They have someone now that can step right up that should be in their prime. Its interesting all the Cubans on the Sox. Viciedo, Ramirez, now Abreu. I remember Viciedo saying he was swayed bc of Ramirez and Jose Contreras. Wonder if that had anything to do with Abreu signing here. And as far as bounce backs go…. WHERE WERE THE RED SOX LAST YEAR?

  5. eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    UPDATE: Rangers hot in pursuit

  6. cabrera24 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Ok he’s not a superstar but he batted .292 23 homeruns 92 rbis 356 OBP. In his first stint with the A’s. And Oakland has won back to back division titles since he join the club . He’s pretty good to me .

    • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      His OBP was in the .290s this year…for a corner OF, that is horrible. Once pitchers have film of a guy and start attacking his weaknesses, he has to show he can adjust, and MLB pitchers are better at attacking weakness than pitchers anywhere else in the world due to superior control, command, and stuff.

      • conjecture101 - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:38 AM

        Then why don’t you explain to me why Scherzer & Verlander couldn’t get him out in the PostSeason despite striking out nearly every other player on the team. Did they have bad film or something?

      • gunpowderjones - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        The sample size of one series is intriguing for Cespedes. Surely, conjecture, you consider Pedro Alvarez to now be the game’s best hitter after the NLDS?

      • conjecture101 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        What does sample size have to do with film?

  7. tfbuckfutter - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Why is there rarely a call for international players to be put in the draft?

    I see that point raised every now and then, but I don’t understand why there isn’t more debate on the topic.

    • eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      First, Abreu would be treated as an international FA regardless because of his age.

      More importantly, why should MLB further limit the salaries and options of its players? I think the better question is why does MLB have a draft for US players

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        Ok, how about you raise YOUR issue on your own?

        Second, I don’t care about age. I’m asking why there isn’t a call for ALL players, regardless of age or path, to be treated the same.

        If anything, experienced foreign players would actually help the draft serve it’s purpose, by funneling potentially major league ready talent to the teams that need the help the most, and possibly at a manageable cost.

      • eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:32 PM

        It’s not a different issue. It’s the same issue: how should the MLB deal with foreign players? I am answering your question as to why there isn’t a call. It denies player rights.

        And why should an experienced foreign player be denied the right to negotiate with any team for any price?

      • eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        *The question about MLB Rule 4 draft was to make you think about the entire idea of a draft. I didn’t actually want an answer.

      • dan1111 - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:15 AM

        @tf: the draft is a system by which the owners conspire to direct money away from the players and to themselves.

      • blacksables - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:31 AM

        Welcome to the world of capitalism. I’m sure you must have heard about it on the news?

      • eightyraw - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        That’s not how capitalism works at all. Compare your entry into the job force with that of a player selected in the draft. You don’t have to have a degree in economics to see the huge differences

      • blacksables - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        No, your wrong. The MLB does not limit any player. They are free to play with any league in the world, in any country. They are not required, mandated, or ‘supposed’ to play MLB.

        If they choose MLB over those other leagues, then they are required to follow any rules imposed, as they are voluntarily playing in that league. If they don’t like they league, they are free to go somewhere else and play under their rules.

        Every player in the world is a free agent because they choose the league they want.

      • eightyraw - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        Let’s say an American gets drafted and refuses to sign. He now has to wait a year before he can be drafted again. So how about the NPB for a year? Too bad the NPB would not relinquish his rights after 1 year.

        Free enterprise. Free market. The MLB is about as close as you can get to a monopoly in the US

      • blacksables - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        There is more to the world than just the states. Your cultural arrogance doesn’t make you right.

      • eightyraw - Oct 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        So you just entered the job market and you know almost exactly how much your talents and abilities are worth. But instead of finding a position with a company you desire in a location you desire with appropriate a pay, you are either forced to work for 3M in Minnesota for 1/10th of your actual value for several years before you can negotiate a fair market salary or you can not enter the only real market for your talents and take 1/100th of your value for one year until another company selects and controls your rights. To reiterate, you don’t get to control your location or salary. Yep, MLB Rule 4 draft is a paradigm of capitalism. I was so wrong.

      • blacksables - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        Wow. You just can’t ever let anything go can you. You have to argue every point some makes that is different than your own, and then refuse to admit when you are wrong and keep picking at it.

        If I want to have discussions like this, I’ll call my ex-wife. Give a rest. And get help. You have issues.

      • eightyraw - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        Why would I admit I’m wrong here? I clearly showed how the MLB Rule 4 draft in no way mirrors an traditional entry to the workforce in a capitalist system.

        Thanks for the armchair psychiatry.

    • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      I don’t think there should be a draft. There isn’t a draft in any other profession. People and employers are free to choose who they want to work with or hire. All the draft does in baseball is restrict the negotiation leverage of the talent.

      The better question is why is there even a draft, rather than why isn’t everyone in the world subject to it.

  8. socalskinsfan21 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Hawk insisted the sox go after this guy hard because he has tWtW

    • esracerx46 - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      Why you gotta bring that up!? Besides comedic relief..

  9. eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    2011 Cuban League Stats

    Cespedes: .333/.424/.667, 33HR (new record)
    Abreu: .453/.597/.986, 33HR

    Abreu had 142 fewer ABs (9 more BB – I don’t have all the information to determine PAs)

  10. kelshannon19 - Oct 17, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    What happened to Astros?

    • jwbiii - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      The Astros did, in fact, make a hard bid on Abreu while falling short: Heard their bid was between $50 million and $60 million.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 17, 2013

  11. eightyraw - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Cuban League stats for Jose Abreu and Davenport Translations (courtesy of Clay Davenport):

    For reference (h/t Eno Sarris)
    The Davenport Translation for Cespedes: .271/.338/.489
    Actual line performance by Cespedes: .265/.324/.472

  12. jdchicago - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    It would be ridicuolous to under estimate a monster bat in the lineup. Besides Pujols has been 60 million already and he shouldn’t be really hitting higher than 5th from here on out.

  13. brhodes14 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    Abreu and Garcia 3 and 4 spot I like it

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