Astros option José Abreu to rookie-level West Palm Beach

HOUSTON — The Astros will select troubled first baseman José Abreu at their spring training complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, general manager Dana Brown announced Tuesday, extending a stunning three-peat collapse. Star and former American League MVP winner.

Abreu, 37, is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract that makes it nearly impossible for the Astros to cut ties with him so early in the season. He recorded only seven hits in his first 71 at-bats, and was struck out 18 times. And could no longer be used as an everyday player.

Both sides agreed to the decision after what Brown described as a “big” conversation with Abreu, members of the Astros’ coaching staff and front office. Because Abreu has more than five years of major league service, he must provide consent before being optioned.

“José Abreu is an exceptional human being. He’s unselfish and he’s a guy that loves his teammates and he wants to get back to what he was doing last fall,” Brown said. “In the middle of During this conversation, you could see that this guy is passionate and determined to get back to helping this team. He was selfless on board and agreed to return to West Palm Beach.

Brown did not offer a timetable for Abreu’s return to the majors leagues but hinted it would be an extended stay. Brown said he may travel to Florida to monitor Abreu’s progress, along with senior advisor Jeff Bagwell and farm manager Jacob Buffa.

“He was frustrated. He wore it,” Brown said. “If you have been around these athletes for several years, you can tell when they are frustrated. You take it home. Sometimes you think they don’t take it home, but they do take it home. It got to the point where he was frustrated. It’s rare to do this, but it speaks to us of his dedication and commitment. I don’t think we see this as a long-term thing, and he doesn’t see this as a long-term thing either. I think it’s more like ‘let’s get down, make some adjustments, get the rhythm and timing back.’

Abreu did not appear at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday and was therefore unavailable for comment. Since this decision was not official until Wednesday, Houston was unable to take a corresponding action and played the series opener on Tuesday. against the Cleveland Guardians, a player was missing.

In an ESPN article published Tuesday morning, Abreu said in Spanish that he “felt embarrassed” by his paltry production since arriving in Houston. The contract he signed last winter was, at the time, the largest since Jim Crane owned the company.

In 163 matches Since, Abreu slashed .221/.280/.352 and, according to Baseball-Reference, was worth minus 1.4 wins above replacement. A resurgence last September offered at least some hope that Abreu could spark a similar turnaround this season.

Already 10 games under .500 and 6 ½ games in the American League West, the Astros couldn’t afford to wait any longer. They entered Tuesday’s game against the Guardians with a .390 OPS from their first basemen. The fact that Abreu became more prone to defensive errors only made the Astros’ decision easier.

“It’s tough to see a veteran player go through that,” Brown said. “When you watch him go through that and you know we have to fix this guy, it’s hard to fix him at the major league level. We can do a lot of different things at the minor league level.

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(Photo: Daniel Shirey / MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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