If the Chicago Cubs sign free agent first baseman Jose Abreu, then Bruce Levine is going to be able to say he naaaaaailed that thing. Because he’s been all over this.
The latest from Levine, who has long been reporting the Cubs’ interest in Abreu, is that the Cubs not only like Abreu, but they would like to land him ASAP:
Abreu, who will turn 36 in January, remains near the top of the Cubs’ wish list in free agency, as sources first told 670 The Score back in mid-October. He hit .304 with 15 homers, 78 RBIs and an .824 OPS in 157 games for the White Sox this past season. While his power numbers dipped, Abreu still has been named a Silver Slugger finalist and could help boost a Cubs offense that needs run-producing bats in the middle of the order.
If they get their way, the Cubs will act quickly in the Abreu sweepstakes in free agency.
Combine that with Levine’s reporting yesterday that a two-year deal might work well for both sides, and it FEELS like maybe the sides already have an inkling on something they want to do. We could find out as soon as tomorrow, when free agents are eligible to sign with new teams. You don’t typically see free agents in baseball signing quite that quickly, but this feels like it’s got some urgency behind it.
As we discussed yesterday, there is nothing inconsistent between signing Jose Abreu and also giving Matt Mervis a real chance to win starts early in the season. The two can absolutely work together on the roster in harmony, and having Abreu reduces the pressure on Mervis to contribute right away (and having Mervis protects against aging and health for Abreu).
Getting Abreu in the door early could also help with the rest of the offseason, both by providing the Cubs some comfort/leverage that they’ve at least added one big bat, and as a demonstration to other free agents that they are serious about improving the roster to compete in 2023. You don’t sign a 35-year-old Abreu to a short-term deal if you’re not trying to win.