Had the Colorado Rockies signed Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu, they almost would have qualified as a “mystery team” that swooped in and landed him without other teams knowing it. In the end he priced himself well out of Colorado’s range, signing with the Chicago White Sox for $68 million.
How upset should we be that the Rockies did not sign Abreu? For one thing, we never really had the chance to get our hopes up because we didn’t even know they were trying to get him until after the fact.
From the sounds of it, he would have filled a much-needed hole in the lineup, providing a power bat at first base and leaving Michael Cuddyer in right field. The Denver Post’s Troy Renck notes the disappointment of not getting Abreu to Colorado:
It’s both intriguing and depressing. It shows the Rockies are trying. But to frustrated fans, who have watched the team finish in last place in consecutive seasons for the first time, it’s hollow without landing the player.”
In this case I’m not sure it is so depressing though, and I actually think the Rockies would have opened themselves up for some criticism if they did sign him. What if Abreu had flopped? He is, at least to an extent, an unknown commodity, even if he is generally referred to as a superstar.
Teams always risk getting burned in those situations, which is why it is typically bigger market teams who can afford to take the plunge on those big-money international signings. Wouldn’t the Rockies have gotten destroyed by their fan base for splurging on a guy who was relatively unknown? I’m not saying Abreu won’t work out. In fact it sounds like he has all the makings of a big-time hitter. Still, I’m not sure the Rockies were in the best position to go there.
So I’m not sure it is depressing. It might be a best-case scenario, actually. The Rockies did show they are trying, but then they did not land a guy whose transition to Major League Baseball makes him at least a little bit risky. They need to follow through on the “intent to spend” that has been established, but for it being the beginning of the off-season, I call this “not such a big deal,” at least for now. So the Rockies weren’t willing to shell out $68 million for Jose Abreu. I say that’s just fine.
And yes, you can all point and laugh and otherwise ridicule me when Abreu is raking for the White Sox this season.