So far, the Cleveland Guardians dodged a bullet in not signing José Abreu
It's been reported that José Abreu was a free-agent target for the Cleveland Guardians this past offseason as the team looked to improve its options at first base.
Abreu would eventually sign with the Houston Astros in large part because they were simply willing to give him more money, which came out to around $60 million total.
The Guardians would eventually "settle" for Josh Bell, signing him to a two-year deal worth $33 million. And one month into the season at least, it would appear Cleveland dodged a major bullet by missing out on the Abreu sweepstakes.
Abreu, 36, is off to a horrible start with Houston, hitting just .235/.267/.270 with no home runs, 11 RBI and 27 strikeouts. He started the year primarily as the team's cleanup hitter, but has since moved around, hitting fifth and sixth at times as he works to get himself out of a deep funk. And deep funk might be an understatement, as Abreu's .537 OPS is currently the second-lowest in baseball among players with 100 at-bats.
Meanwhile, Bell has begun to settle in with the Guardians, hitting .281/.343/.563 with three home runs and 10 RBI since April 11.
Abreu has long been a hitting machine in the majors, with a .290 career batting average and 132 OPS+. He won the AL MVP award in 2020 (edging out José Ramírez) and is a three-time All-Star. He won AL Rookie of the Year in 2014 and has been a Silver Slugger twice. The pedigree is fantastic, so to see Abreu struggle so much to begin the year is odd, to say the least.
There is still plenty of time for Abreu to turn things around and get back to his old ways, but if you thought people were ready to hit the panic button on this Guardians season already, just imagine what would be happening if Abreu was sporting a .537 OPS for an already-struggling Cleveland offense, and there were still two years left on his deal.