It was reported by Jon Heyman today that the Red Sox and White Sox have been in "active talks" surrounding first baseman Jose Abreu. Great. I like it. He's the type of middle of the order bar we need right now. Someone for opposing pitchers to fear. We need that. The 30-year-old Abreu has been in Major League Baseball for four years now. He has a career .301/.359/.524 triple slash line. He's hit 30 homers in 3-of-4 season. He's reached 100 RBIs in 4-of-4. He's been durable too, playing in at least 145 games every year.
That being said Abreu should not be Red Sox fans first choice for a first base solution this off-season. Again, he's great, and if we end up with him that's not necessarily a bad thing. I just question how much better he is than Carlos Santana, who wouldn't require giving up "win now" assets in a trade (if the hypothetical trade involves JBJ). Acquiring Santana would just be about money and the draft pick (which btw Abreu isn't exactly that cheap either).
First let's look at Santana's numbers and see how he compares to Abreu. His career triple slash line of .249/.365/.445 certainly gives Abreu an apparent edge. Santana narrowly edges him in OBP, but trails significantly in both average and slugging. However, over the past two years the edge isn't as big as you'd think.
Abreu and Santana have virtually identical power numbers over the past 2 years 2Bs 75-68, 3Bs 7-6, HRs 58-57. Abreu has 64 more singles, Santana has 105 more walks. Santana leads in ISO, OBP, base running, defense and WAR.— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) November 30, 2017
The main rumor right now is that Boston would be sending back Jackie Bradley Jr. to Chicago, plus prospects. Ummm yeah, no thanks. So the point isn't that Santana is better than Abreu. The point is this:
Santana + JBJ > Abreu
We're in win now mode. Acquiring Abreu would be great, but losing Jackie would suck. The runs he takes away are invaluable, and his upside is certainly higher than Abreu's if he puts it all together. Plus he's under club control for an extra year. However, at the end of the day we shouldn't be discussing these options yet. I would much rather sign J.D. Martinez, or trade for Giancarlo Stanton. Let's still focus on those two for now.