The Chicago White Sox had a rough year in 2013. They finished dead last in the AL Central and essentially blew up the roster when they dealt two of their best players, Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, during the season when it became clear that contending wasn’t in the realm of possibility.
The mood around the south side got a little more jovial today when it was announced that the White Sox reportedly signed 26 year old Jose Abreu to a six-year, $68 million deal. That contract, when signed, will become the largest initial free-agent contract given to an international player.
So just how good is Abreu? In 2010-11 he played in just 63 games due to a shoulder injury but managed to bat .453 with 33 home runs and 93 RBI’s. The year before that he hit .399 with 30 homers and 76 RBI’s. Of course those numbers could be the result of playing in the Cuban league, but when compared to other recent Cuban defectors Yeonis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig, his track record is actually better than either of those two. There is also his World Baseball Classic success, where he hit three homers and nine RBI’s, which needs to be taken into account.
Abreu will likely take over first base from Paul Konerko who will be a free agent this upcoming offseason.