Pros and cons of Padres replacing Josh Bell with Jose Abreu

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres have made a habit of becoming an aggressive team in free agency and the rumor mill, as A.J. Preller is committed to building a winner no matter what it costs. Former Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu is firmly in the organization’s crosshairs.

Abreu, who is fresh off hitting .304 with 15 home runs, could leave a White Sox team that is in disarray for a squad with a more reasonable chance of competing for a championship. With San Diego not getting the best return out of former All-Star Josh Bell, a swap could be coming if Preller pays up.

Abreu, who won AL MVP in the COVID-shortened season and has been named an All-Star three times since defecting from Cuba and joining the White Sox, would theoretically slide right into the heart of the lineup behind Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr. That group by itself is good enough to compete for a title.

While there are some links between the two parties, fans and executives alike need to be aware of the fact that this whole operation could end up going sideways if Abreu doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain. This is not necessarily a slam dunk signing that will fix everything.

Will the San Diego Padres sign Jose Abreu?


Abreu played an average of 151 games in every non-shortened season, and that durability is important. His consistency really shines, as he has four seasons in which he hit over .300,  five seasons with more than 30 home runs, and six seasons with over 100 RBI. Oh, and an MVP doesn’t hurt.

Abreu might be a high-end first baseman, but he is not going to cost a ton due to his age and lack of any semblance of speed. Abreu would be an ideal DH for this team, with Petco’s spacious outfield and the enticing Western Metal Supply Company building out there to help him get back to his pre-2022 power levels.


Abreu’s power was sapped, as his home runs were cut in half and his trademark ability to drive in runs wavered. Abreu is going to be 36 when the season starts, so the odds of him suddenly finding more power are unlikely. Adding a potentially declining asset to this very enticing young team is not the best move.

The Padres could use one more starting pitcher to make this team a contender, so the idea of adding Bell back on a cheaper deal and having enough financial wiggle room to go after an ace might make more sense. If Abreu falters, San Diego might not have the flexibility to dump him cleanly.

Abreu has his risks, but even a slightly compromised version can tear the cover off the ball.