A few years ago —the details are fuzzy in my mind — an interviewer asked Alex Bregman about the performance of some new “minor leaguers” recently elevated to the major league club. Before answering the question, Bregman forcefully corrected the interviewer.
“They’re members of the Astros now.”
Jose Abreu, one of the newest members of the Astros, has been so bad, that if you just went by his 2023 statistics, he wouldn’t even be good enough to play on the below-Mendoza-line Oakland A’s, much less the World Champions. He’s been so bad that at -1.1 fWAR in 1⁄3 of a season, he hasn’t even been as good as one of the interviewer’s “minor leaguers.” The former MVP slugger has been so bad that, in 211 PAs, he hadn’t hit a home run. Even Mauricio Dubon’s got a dinger this year.
He has demonstrably hurt the team and is part of the reason why the Astros are trailing the f’ing Texas Rangers for the Division lead. You’d think as an outsider playing so poorly, he’d be a pariah on the team.
And that’s why this scene is so heart-warming. On Abreu’s 212th PA, this happened.
The child-like joy shown by this 36-year-old man, running the bases like a little leaguer after hitting his first home run, has to melt the heart of even the cynics who thought Abreu got his money and just didn’t care anymore.
And the reaction of his teammates.
They have known his pain. They have shared his pain. They are almost as happy that great pain is finally lifted as Jose himself. The pain of their friend. Their family member. Their fellow Astro.
Welcome to the family, Jose Abreu. And to many more Astros moments like the one yesterday.
And shame on the A’s for throwing at you the next AB. We know you’re having a bad time, Oakland, but that was just awful.