The Chicago White Sox now face the tough task of replacing Jose Abreu after he signed with the Houston Astros on Monday afternoon.
It was meant to be a busy offseason in the South Side of Chicago, but any gains the White Sox made by signing Mike Clevinger and strengthening their rotation were quickly lost when Jose Abreu signed with another American League contender in the Houston Astros.
So, Chicago is now faced with a gaping hole at first base, unless they opt to stick with Andrew Vaughn, who was primarily an outfielder last season but has some experience at first. The former top prospect has proven capable in limited playing time, but it’s tough to fill the shoes of a former AL MVP.
If the Sox opt to replace Abreu outside the organization, who should they sign?
White Sox replacement for Jose Abreu
Jose Abreu was one of the top free-agent first basemen on the market for a reason. His power decreased last year, and he’s 36 years old, but he was still able to secure a multi-year deal from a respected organization in Houston.
Replacing him will not be easy, and it will cost the White Sox unless they stick with Andrew Vaughn, who played the majority of his games in the outfield in 2022.
Josh Bell is a name that sticks out, and he’s arguably the best first baseman on the market right now, especially since Anthony Rizzo signed with the Yankees. Bell is entering his age-30 season, so he’s far younger than Abreu, and would likely want a long-term deal of some sort.
With Washington in 2022, Bell slashed .301/.384/.493 with14 home runs before he was traded to the San Diego Padres with Juan Soto. After that trade, Bell struggled, hitting under the Mendoza line in 53 games as a Padre.
That sample size in San Diego hurt his value slightly, but he remains an All-Star caliber first baseman at his best. If he can replicate his time in Washington, Bell could be the best under-the-radar signing of the offseason for the White Sox, should they choose to speak with his representatives.