Astros release Jose Abreu from major league roster: Why Houston moved on from struggling baseball player

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros released Jose Abreu on Friday, ending his miserable 15-month tenure with a team that could no longer afford to keep him active in any capacity.

According to Baseball Reference, Abreu earned a negative 1.6 wins above replacement during his star-crossed Astros tenure, cementing the three-year, $58.5 million contract as the worst in franchise history.

Few trades in Houston sports history have been worse than Abreu’s. Owner Jim Crane and special counsel Jeff Bagwell negotiated the matter in the general manager’s absence during the 2022 season — something that began with Crane’s firing of then-general manager James Click.

The Astros must pay the remainder of Abreu’s contract — more than $30 million through 2025. If he signs elsewhere, the new team will only owe him the league minimum salary.

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Abreu is a former American League Rookie of the Year who won MVP honors in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He received MVP votes as recently as 2022 — a season before Houston signed him.

His decline since then has been staggering. Abreu hit .237 and posted a .680 OPS during his only full season as an Astro — and needed a resurgence in September to make those numbers look somewhat respectable. His three home runs during the Astros’ four-game ALDS victory against the Minnesota Twins are the only highlights of Abreu’s poor tenure.

After Abreu started this season a 7-for-71 mess, the 37-year-old agreed to be optioned to the team’s spring training complex in West Palm Beach, where team officials hoped he could fix issues with the timing of his swing and enjoy playing. Mental reset.

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In effect, the demotion began the clock in Abreu’s Astros career. After Abreu returned to the major league team, manager Joe Espada started him in 12 of Houston’s 16 games. Abreu struck out 10 times and managed just seven hits and one walk in 43 plate appearances.

Abreu’s inability to compete in a big spot during the ninth inning of Monday’s 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants confirmed a fact that many who have watched this team for a long time have accepted — that carrying him on the 26-man roster has become untenable. About him for a team trying to grab his place. The road back to competing in the playoffs.

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(Photo: Jerome Miron/USA Today)

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