News and Rumors

Jose Abreu Bidding Expected to Reach $70 M

Jose Abreu Bidding Expected to Reach $70 M

Buster Olney reports that bidding on Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu is expected to be for $70 M.

Olney also says that the White Sox, Rangers, and Astros are the front runners in that update. Tim Dierkes of MLBTR profiled Abreu yesterday, and predicted a six year, $54 M deal. Obviously this would trump that deal, although it would be interesting to hear how many years the $70 M deal is for. If it’s a six year deal, then Abreu would be in line to receive a little over $11.5 M per year.

The Pirates would have the money to sign Abreu, but we don’t know what their level of interest is. So far we’ve only heard that they’ve checked on him, but they haven’t been mentioned as one of the top teams going after him. The MLBTR article says that teams are split on Abreu, with some doubting his ability to hit in the majors. It’s entirely possible that the Pirates are one of those teams.

I wouldn’t completely rule out the Pirates, or any other team not mentioned in Olney’s tweet. But I also wouldn’t be penciling Abreu in to any future lineups, or assuming that the Pirates are actively pursuing the first baseman. It’s a deal that would make sense, as the Pirates need a first baseman and Abreu is a high risk, high reward option that could be cheaper and more valuable than other options. But if the Pirates don’t believe this to be true, then the deal wouldn’t make sense at all for them.

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  • leadoff

    72 mil for 6 years is less than most free agents would cost them, the problem is they have a track record for the free agent and nothing for Abreu, 72mil is a big gamble for a small market team. I would think they could get Morneau back for under 10mil. I also believe that defense around the 1st base bag is taken for granted far too often. The Pirates did not have a first basemen that could throw a ball to 2nd base before Morneau came along. If Morneau could hit 270-280 with 10-15 Hrs. and with his defense he would be a decent fit for the Pirates, they still would have plenty of power.

    • Rick Eger

      I wouldn’t sign either of them. Morneau is going down hill fast, Abreu is too high risk for that amount of money.

  • Andrew

    What is the tipping point, in dollars/year, that this deal become an unnecessary risk for the Pirates.? Obviously, there is subjectivity because there are several components to this deal. The other free agent options have their own issues, but having 13-20% of your payroll tied to a player who has played at the equivalent of high A level seems questionable. Large market teams can afford mistakes.

    And Morneau will not be back, the more interesting question is why do people want him back?

    • emjayinTN

      Andrew: Tipping point? A defensive liability and an offensive threat that could not carry Starling Marte’s batting gloves. His skill level has been evaluated as possibly AA, and he has AL in his future because he can hit as a DH without having to play D. You want to spend $70 mil? Start with a 5 year $34.6 mil contract for Neil Walker, then a 2 year $20 mil contract for AJ Burnett, and then a 6 year $25 mil commitment to Marte with a $10 mil Club Option in year 7. That is close to $80 mil. The Pirates are winning with pitching and defense, and that’s a great down payment on future success. The Rays make a practice out of signing their young players before they get to Arbitration. The players are willing to give up the gamble of a future payoff for a right now commitment that will set them financially for life.

      • Andrew

        I am mostly agreeing with you, maybe I phrased it poorly. I think that if you can sign Abreau for annual average of 9 million/year (6 year/54million) it is worth the risk, but if total contract is worth 70 million I think that pushes the deal past point of being a good idea and that payroll should be spent elsewhere, with an extension for Marte being a major priority.

      • tom2125

        I’m not totally sold on Anreu either but if your going to spend the money how you want, then I might lean towards wasting money on abreu. Who would give walker 5 years? Obviously you haven’t read what Tim had to say about him. Burnett isn’t going to take 10 million a year to play for us. We would need to offer him at least 30 million for a two year deal. The only thing I like is locking up marte to save money through his arbitration years and possibly buy out a year it two if free agency. But I’m sure marte will get more than 24 million even though he will be eager to sign a deal since he got under a 100,000 dollar signing bonus

        • smurph

          I disagree with you on Burnett. He has already made his money and there is no way the Pirates would commit that kind of money to him. If he really wants to play, and if he really wants to play for the Pirates (knowing their budgetary concerns) I think he will sign for one or two years, less than 10 million per. Just as likely is that he will retire.

    • SteveW

      There is no rational reason for wanting Morneau back – unless he is willing to sign for a very low amount of money. He is no better than Garret Jones. That’s the kind of money he should be making, although his reputation will likely get him a bit more.

  • Stephen Brooks

    Cespedes signed for 4/$36m for his age 26-29 years. Puig signed for 7/$42m, ages 22-28. Abreu will be entering his age-27 season in 2014. I just don’t see where 6/$72 makes sense. In fact, if I were his agent I would try to limit the contract length to set up a bigger payday in 3-4 years.

  • Ron Zorn

    I would rather have the Garrett Jones/Gaby Sanchez platoon at .260/25hrs/80RBI’s for one year and $9 million, than lock up a single, inferior player for any of the money written about above. Neither had a great year, but I think it is important to look at them as a combination. For far fewer years, you strengthen the bench, have a player that can fill in the outfield pretty adequately (Jones) and a pretty good defensive first base option (Sanchez). To lockup that kind of money on a player that can’t field even first base well, no matter have any other positional flexibility makes no sense to me, especially for our low budget Bucs in the National League.

  • smurph

    Chicago Tribune is reporting today that Abreu is likely to sign soon for 6 years/68 million (per Ken rosenthal). The team deemed to be the likely winner is the White Sox. That is 11.3 million per -preety steep.

News and Rumors

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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