The Jose Abreu sweepstakes – which played out relatively quickly and quietly (given the Chicago Cubs’ lack of involvement, I just mean “quiet” around these parts) – looks to be winding down imminently, with the Cuban star on his way to the south side of Chicago.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the White Sox are “expected” to sign Abreu for six years and $68 million, which is easily a record for Cuban players. The 26-year-old is a first base/DH-type, which is a big reason the Cubs weren’t involved. The White Sox, who have a long history of signing Cuban players, are clearly not resigning themselves to a long-term, deep, ugly rebuild, and Abreu could go a long way to getting them back into a competitive place if he proves to be the guy some think he can be in MLB.
That said, the deal is a huge risk. Abreu has been heavily scouted – especially for a Cuban player – and a number of teams that are usually heavy-hitters in the international game were not involved, or did not want to get into Abreu for too much money. That should tell you something about the uncertainty on how his game will translate to the States.
As for the market impact here, there’s very little. The White Sox weren’t expected to spend heavily this Winter except for a guy like Abreu, so this doesn’t really change the rest of the market landscape much. The two other finalists for Abreu were reportedly the Astros (they’re not going after any other big names) and the Red Sox (it’s possible they now try harder to bring Mike Napoli back).