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Astros release Jose Abreu from major league roster: Why Houston moved on from struggling slugger

Astros release Jose Abreu from major league roster: Why Houston moved on from struggling slugger
Astros release Jose Abreu from major league roster: Why Houston moved on from struggling slugger

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros released José Abreu on Friday, ending his miserable 15-month tenure with a team that could no longer afford to have him active in any capacity.

According to Baseball-Reference, Abreu accumulated negative 1.6 wins above replacement during his tenure with the Astros, cementing the three-year contract worth $58.5 million as the worst in the franchise. history of the franchise.

Few trades in Houston sports history have been worse than Abreu’s. Owner Jim Crane and special advisor Jeff Bagwell negotiated him in the absence of a general manager during the 2022 offseason — an offseason that began with Crane’s firing of then-general manager James Click.

The Astros must pay the remainder of Abreu’s contract, more than $30 million through 2025. If he signs elsewhere, a new team would only owe him the league minimum salary.

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Abreu is a former American League Rookie of the Year who earned MVP honors during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He got MVP votes as recently as 2022 — a season before Houston signed him.

Since then, its decline has been astonishing. Abreu hit .237 and posted a .680 OPS in his only full season as an Astro – and needed a September resurgence to make those numbers look somewhat respectable. His three homers in the Astros’ four-game ALDS win over the Minnesota Twins are the only highlights of Abreu’s otherwise anemic tenure.

After Abreu started this season 7-for-71, the 37-year-old agreed to transfer to the team’s spring training complex in West Palm Beach, where team officials hoped he could resolve the timing issues in his swing and benefit from a mental reset.

In reality, the demotion started the clock on Abreu’s Astros career. After Abreu returned to the major league team, manager Joe Espada started him in 12 of Houston’s 16 games. Abreu struck out 10 and had just seven hits and one walk in 43 plate appearances.

Abreu’s lack of competitiveness in a massive position during the ninth inning of Monday’s 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants highlighted a fact that many people watching this team had long accepted – carrying it on the 26-man roster has become untenable for a team trying to win. back in the playoff race.

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(Photo: Jérôme Miron / USA Today)