Early Saturday morning on his 670 The Score show Inside the Clubhouse, MLB insider Bruce Levine dropped a hammer on White Sox fans when he said the Cubs will have White Sox slugger Jose Abreu on their list of free agent targets this offseason.
Abreu, 35, has played his entire MLB career on the South Side. He won the American League MVP in 2020, is a three-time All Star, former Rookie of the Year winner (2014) and a three-time Silver Slugger recipient. Abreu was the face of the White Sox franchise for nearly a decade. However, reports from Bob Nightengale suggest the Sox will let him walk this offseason.
"“He [Abreu] is on their list, he will be looked at, and I don’t think there’s any reason for Jose Abreu to say, ‘No I wouldn’t want to play with the Chicago Cubs’.”"
The Cubs are going to have a very active offseason, and we know they’re looking for notable offensive additions. Abreu has consistently produced as a hitter and could fit in very nicely on the North Side over the next few years.
Jose Abreu could offer the Cubs veteran leadership and a steady bat
This is a situation where the first base and DH roles could be filled by Abreu and prospect Matt Mervis, who continues to tear it up in the Arizona Fall League. This would take some pressure off of Mervis to not be relied on as the primary first baseman or DH as he will enter 2023 with no MLB experience. Plus it would be a nice righy-lefty combo in the lineup.
A potential deal for Abreu would probably not be for more than 2-3 years, which would fit very nicely with how Jed Hoyer wants to sign free agent deals. The goal is for the Cubs to sustain success for a long time and Abreu could be part of that first phase of success, which they look to start in 2023.
Abreu is a career .292/.354/.506 hitter with 243 home runs, .860 OPS and 134 OPS+ in 1,270 games. He has been very durable, averaging playing 151 games a season (not counting the 60-game pandemic year). Abreu has hit 30+ home runs in five seasons. While his power dropped off last year, he still hit .304/.378/.446 in 157 games. It is also worth noting that he has a career 1.009 OPS with eight home runs at Wrigley Field. It’s nice to imagine him in the middle of the Cubs order on a warm summer day at Wrigley with the wind blowing out.
Not only would the Cubs be getting a great hitter, but a great leader. Abreu has been known for being a great teammate on the South Side, and several Sox players made it clear they do not want him to leave. The Cubs seem to have established a good culture, and adding Abreu would make it even better. Who knows if this happens, but it is a good option for Hoyer and the Cubs to look at.