Cuban slugger Jose Abreu has agreed to a six-year, $68 million contract with the Chicago White Sox, a person familiar with the situation said Friday.
The person spoke Friday on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced and was pending a physical. Several outlets had earlier reported the agreement.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Abreu could play first base or serve as the designated hitter. He batted .360 (9-for-25) with three home runs and nine RBIs at the World Baseball Classic last spring, and he defected over the summer.
Abreu joins a team that went 63-99 after finishing second in the AL Central. The White Sox believe they can turn things around quickly because of their pitching, but defense and hitting were huge problems for them this past season.
They ranked 29th in fielding percentage, and they didn’t get the job done at the plate, either. A lack of speed and a drop in power added up to the White Sox scoring the fewest runs in the American League. They batted just .249 and saw their home run total plummet to 148 after they ranked third in the majors with 211 the previous year.
With Adam Dunn signed through next season and Abreu in the mix, there might not be room for Paul Konerko. At 37 and with an expiring contract, he might have played his last season with the White Sox – or any other team.
The six-time All-Star is coming off one of his worst seasons and said at the end of the year that he would take a month to decide if he’ll try to play next season. He wasn’t sure if the White Sox even wanted him back after he hit .244 with just 12 homers and 54 RBIs while dealing with a back problem.
If this does signal the end in Chicago, it’s been quite a run.
Acquired from Cincinnati following the 1998 season, Konerko helped lead the White Sox to a championship in 2005. He ranks second on the White Sox’s list to Frank Thomas in homers and RBIs.
NOTE: The White Sox outrighted left-handed pitcher David Purcey to Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. He was 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA over 24 relief appearances with Chicago. The White Sox’s 40-man roster is at 36.