Astros might have handed the Twins a perfect low-risk veteran reclamation project

Should the Twins take a chance on Jose Abreu after he got released by Houston?
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

Last October Jose Abreu was cooking the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, but less than a year later he's out of a job in Houston.

The Astros outright released Abreu on Friday afternoon, ending his time in Houston amid a brutal decline over the past few seasons. He bottomed out after getting demoted earlier this season and hasn't done enough to even warrant a roster spot anymore.

It's been a rather stunning fall from grace for Abreu, who took a sharp decline after owning the Twins in the ALDS last season. He was sent down to the minors slashing .167/.186/.333 in fewer than 50 plate appearances and has an abysmal -1.6 WAR.

That's not at all what the Astros thought they were buying when the team handed Abreu $58M.

Now Houston will have to eat every penny of his remaining contract after releasing Abreu. Crocodile tears are the best way to describe how everyone else in the league is seeing this deal blow up the Astros' face, and it could present an opportunity for the Twins to make a friend out of a long-time foe.

Houston might have handed the Twins a perfect low-risk veteran reclamation project.

There's no denying that Abreu has been horrible this year, and his decline can be traced back to last season. Overall with Houston he's hit a less-than-ideal .217/.275/.351 in 714 plate appearances but he's shown flashes of the slugger he was with the White Sox.

Abreu hit .304/.378/.446 back in 2022 and is just a few years removed from winning the AL MVP. His peak years are in the rearview, but he checks all the boxes of the type of aging veteran the Twins foam at the mouth to try and bring aboard.

Carlos Santana is a good comparrison to Abreu. Minnesota signed him this winter as their annual low-risk veteran gamble and there's a pretty good chance that Abreu fills that role if the playing field was even. Now the Twins could have them both, and risk almost nothing to try and see if they can squeeze some solid production out of a guy who has shown the ability to do so in the past.

Bringing Abreu back to the AL Central also gives him a chance to revive his offense in familiar territory. He spent most of his career in Chicago and absolutely punished opposing pitching in the division. Abreu is also a career .310 hitter with RISP and two outs, something the Twins have struggled with a ton this season.

All of this is admittedly overlooking the negative aspects of Abreu's game lately, but that's not what Minnesota would be gambling on. If they can add him at a reasonable price, which seems like a certainty, there's no harm in adding him to see if he can turn it around.

Best case scenario is that he works his way into a meaningful role at first base or DH, especially with Alex Kirilloff out of the picture there for the time being. A platoon of Abreu and Santana, with some Jose Miranda sprinkled in there, sounds pretty good.

Worst case is that things don't work out and the Twins simply DFA him when they need a roster spot opened up. It's not the most obvious gamble in the world, but it's one a Twins team that failed to prepare properly over the winter might benefit from making.

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