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The Red Sox are engaged in trade talks for Jose Abreu, per report

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A wild high-end trade target appeared!

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for this hot stove to start heating up, and now we have a fairly substantial trade rumor to satiate our appetites. The Red Sox have been connected to just about every big bat on the market, with Giancarlo Stanton, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer (definition of “big bat” may be argued in this case) headlining most of the rumors and speculation. First base has always made the most sense for a place at which Boston can upgrade, and now it appears they may be interested in a trade for the South Side’s Jose Abreu. According to Fanrag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Red Sox and White Sox have been engaged in talks about the star first baseman.

Abreu first came to the States back in the fall of 2013, and if you’ll recall the Red Sox were players in the bidding for his services at that time. It was a strange circumstance, though, as the team was in the middle of a run that would end in a championship and they already employed a first baseman in Mike Napoli who was both helping to sustain the team’s strong offense as well as coming up on a free agency of his own. It put Boston in a strange spot to potentially sign his replacement while Napoli was still trying to help them win it all. Of course, they ended up not signing Abreu, and the former Cuban star has been excellent with the White Sox.

In terms of the here and now, he would be exactly what the team needs in the middle of the order, allowing them to keep all three of their young outfielders while playing Hanley Ramirez at DH. Abreu’s defensive value isn’t tremendous by any means, but he brings power and consistency at the plate. He’s played in four full major-league seasons and has reached 600 plate appearances in each of them. Furthermore, he has just one season with an Isolated Power below .200 and just one year with a wRC+ below 130. He’s also coming off a great 2017 campaign in which he hit .304/.354/.552 for a 138 wRC+ for the rebuilding White Sox.

Abreu also fits fairly perfectly into the Red Sox current window of contention, as he’s arbitration eligible for the next two seasons before he’s set to hit free agency. Entering his age-31 season, he will cost Boston quite a bit in terms of salary, as MLB Trade Rumors projects he’ll take home $17.9 million in arbitration this winter. It’s not cheap, but he certainly has the skills to justify that salary and then some.

In terms of pure fit with the Red Sox, he makes perfect sense and is a very logical target for Dave Dombrowski. However, the fit for a trade with the White Sox is where I’m a bit puzzled. Chicago is a team that is in the middle of a rebuild and, realistically, is likely two or three years away from really contending. Because of that, someone like Jackie Bradley Jr. wouldn’t be an ideal trade target for them. Instead, I imagine, they’d like prospects or pre-arbitration players in return. I can’t see Boston dealing Andrew Benintendi or Rafael Devers for the slugger even given how talented he is, and I’m not sure I see a package headlined by one or both of Jason Groome and Michael Chavis being enough. It’s also worth mentioning that the White Sox are reportedly high on Abreu’s leadership and wouldn’t mind keeping him around for the rebuild to help with their younger pieces.

The Red Sox continue to search for the big bat they need in the middle of their lineup, and Abreu makes a ton of sense on that front. These two teams have also dealt in some high-profile trades in the recent past, too, so the two sides are familiar with each other and the organizations. Perhaps there is a deal I’m missing here, and Dombrowski is 100 percent right to at least explore the possibility of a deal.