With Abreu secured, Astros must address next million-dollar question(s)

Will Uncle Mike get signed next? Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Houston Astros have added another stellar bat to their already deep lineup with the signing of first baseman Jose Abreu to a three-year deal worth $58.5 million.

The 35-year-old Cuban native is second in Major League Baseball with 863 RBI since his rookie season in 2014 and won the 2020 American League MVP.

Last season with the White Sox, Abreu hit .304/.378/.446 and has a career .292 batting average.

So with Abreu now in the fold, what will the Astros do next?

His addition to the Astros seems to indicate the likely departure of Yuli Gurriel via free agency.

The former AL batting champion played well in the playoffs, but had a down year offensively in the regular season hitting .242/.288/.360.

Gurriel’s Gold Glove caliber defense isn’t to blame for his potential departure, but rather Abreu brings more to the plate and is three years younger.

Although Gurriel will be missed, Astros fans should be excited about the addition of another MVP.

Without changing the batting order, Abreu could take Gurriel’s spot behind Kyle Tucker and add more power and RBI to this already lethal lineup.

There is a possibility of Gurriel returning to a utility position, but Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley are both younger and more affordable options for that role.

Another free agent, Michael Brantley, has said he would like to return. Given the option between the two, Houston would benefit more from re-signing Brantley, who would fill an outfield need and continue to add production from the left side of the plate.

His leadership in the clubhouse is an asset to this team, and the Astros could certainly attempt to re-sign the 5x All-Star.

Although Houston has been linked to other free agents that include Michael Conforto and Cody Bellinger as potential outfield options, the Astros might already have a solution to fill that need.

Chas McCormick has proven himself to be a quality center fielder with World Series success, and if Jake Meyers could return to his 2021 form, he would be an excellent in-house option to fill that need without overpaying a free agent.

The Astros will continue to browse the free agent market, but could fill their voids with players already in their system as they have done in the past.

Houston has replaced Gerrit Cole, George Springer and Carlos Correa in consecutive years with All-Star caliber players such as Framber Valdez, Kyle Tucker and World Series MVP Jeremy Pena.

The Astros find ways to win by promoting from within, and signing free agents as necessary.

Abreu might be their biggest addition of the offseason unless a deal can be made to re-sign Justin Verlander.

If last season’s Cy-Young Award winner were to leave, the Astros’ rotation would still be in good hands with six potential starters.

Regardless of Verlander’s decision, Houston will continue to be the number one contender in the American League.

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