Mets rumors: Is Jose Abreu a fit for uncertain DH role?

Jose Abreu Mets
Jose Abreu (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Amongst the Mets’ needs this winter to help them take the next step from top regular-season side to legitimate World Series contender is the designated hitter role — and a big fish is potentially going to hit the market. 

According to multiple reports this week, the Chicago White Sox appear to be preparing to move on from slugger Jose Abreu, who will hit free agency this winter and turn 36 in January. 

It appears to be a puzzling decision on the surface. Abreu is just two years removed from winning the American League MVP and he batted .304 with an .824 OPS in 157 games this season. However, his power numbers dipped drastically with just 15 home runs and 75 RBI compared to last year when he posted 30 round-trippers with 117 RBI.

Add the fact that the White Sox need to create proper opportunities for the poor-fielding outfielders Andrew Vaughn and Eloy Jimenez — they could split time between first base and DH which were Abreu’s spots — and the veteran righty becomes expendable. 

His availability would likely make its way on the Mets’ radar. The experiment of platooning Dom Smith and JD Davis failed miserably before trying to do the same thing with Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf with similar results. 

Abreu’s splits were consistent in 2022, batting .307 against righties and .294 against lefties to hold down the spot all on his own. Even more alluring was his career-low 16.2% strikeout rate. However, the diminishing power numbers provide a sizable red flag. 

The Mets are in desperate need of more power alongside Pete Alonso as the lack of depth in such a category proved costly down the stretch, especially in their penultimate regular-season series against the Atlanta Braves and their Wild Card Series with the San Diego Padres. 

Another big bat that can turn a game on its head in an instant — rather than relying on a string of hits to manufacture runs when the pitching improves in the postseason — makes an already top-notch NL lineup all the more imposing. 

Whether Abreu’s lack of power in 2022 is an anomaly or not will fuel plenty of discussion over the next few months. But to see him sport a career-high 47.9% ground-ball rate is a major question mark for a potential option who would be required to leave the yard with elevated frequency.

For more on the Mets and other MLB rumors, including this Jose Abreu article, visit AMNY.com

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