Astros Release Jose Abreu: Four Thoughts

Jose Abreu was released by the Astros.
Jose Abreu was released by the Astros. Jack Gorman
The Astros announced Friday that they would be releasing first baseman Jose Abreu with still another year-and-a-half remaining on his three-year $58 million contract. It was a move that fans had wanted for some time, but the Astros had resisted hoping Abreu could, after a trip to the minors, resuscitate his career. This season, he was slashing .124/.167/.195 in 113 at bats.

Jon Singleton will assume the role of full-time first baseman, an inconceivable thought last season when he was signed off waivers. Here are some thoughts.

This had to happen.

His incredibly bad stat line doesn't really begin to demonstrate how bad Abreu has been this season. He looks like he cannot catch up to fastballs and is completely out of his element against everything else. The fact that the Astros gave him every opportunity and he wasn't injured would tend to lead to the inevitable conclusion that Abreu's career is over. It would be a tough way to go out, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he retired given his struggles.

The "baseball guys" are clearly responsible for an awful contract.

Remember that Abreu got his deal before the Astros brought in GM Dana Brown and after they had fired former GM James Click. All indications are that Jeff Bagwell among others was responsible for signing Abreu, or at least influencing Jim Crane to do it. While no one disputed the move at the time, there were some questions about the amount of money and the number of years given some of the other contracts that had been handed out around the league at the time. This deal and Abreu's release sits squarely on their shoulders.

We'll get to see if Jon Singleton can handle the everyday spot...for now.

For those who wanted to see Joey Loperfido back on the roster, he cannot at the moment unless someone goes on the IL, so the team called up something named Cooper Hummel from Triple A Sugar Land. For now, this is Singleton's gig though he might get relieved by Maruicio Dubon against lefties. Fans would love to see the Astros prioritize first base at the trade deadline and there are some names out there, but it would require moving someone on the major league roster because they have so little depth in the minors. Singleton has been solid if unspectacular at the plate and good defensively. The position is his until it isn't.

This really exposes the lack of depth at certain positions in the minor league system.

The Astros essentially have zero major league talent to play either first or third base in their system currently and it's a problem. Abreu is now gone and Alex Bregman is a free agent after this season. It can take years to replenish a minor league system decimated during a long successful run like the Astros have had. And this is a prime example. Figuring out the future of those two spots will now be a priority for Brown and the team's upper management. 
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke