The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a six-year, $68 million contract to acquire Cuban free-agent first baseman Jose Abreu. Abreu’s contract will be the largest initial free-agent contract given to an international player.
The 26-year old Abreu defected from Cuba this past summer.
He is considered somewhat of a risky acquisition as he is relatively unknown despite having a better run in Cuba’s national league than Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig before they made their assault on the majors.
In the 2010-11 season in Cuba, Abreu batted .453 in 63 games and missed time with a shoulder injury. Despite missing time due to his injury, Abreu still hit 33 home runs with 93 RBIs. The previous season he batted .399 with 30 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Abreu will become the White Sox new first baseman as he will takeover for team captain Paul Konerko who became a free agent and the end of the season.
ESPN reported Thursday night the White Sox were a front-runner to land Abreu at around $70 million. Olney also reported the Boston Red Sox were out of the running and the Houston Astros had fallen short with a bid of $55 million.
At this spring’s World Baseball Classic, Abreu batted .360 (9-for-25) with three home runs and nine RBIs.
The White Sox were last in the American League in runs scored this past season with 598 and are hoping Abreu can have an immediate offensive impact.
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