DENVER — Jose Abreu’s big performance Tuesday night comes as no surprise to the Colorado Rockies.
They were the runners-up in the offseason sweepstakes for the Cuban free agent’s services. With Todd Helton retired, the Rockies were in search of a replacement and liked what Abreu has to offer. Abreu not only spurned Colorado’s six-year, $63-million offer for the $68 million he received from the White Sox but he also has burned them this week.
Abreu fouled off six pitches in the seventh inning on Tuesday night and homered on the 12th offering from Chad Bettis, the first home run of his career. The three-run homer put Tuesday’s game out of reach. An inning later, Abreu hammered a pitch from Wilton Lopez deep into the bullpen in right-center field for his second homer.
“He had a great at-bat,” Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Wednesday. “He's obviously a powerful guy. We had a lot of interest in him in the offseason. All reports were this guy was legitimate. A middle of the order bat; I think we saw that last night.”
As many as nine teams got involved in the bidding process and the offers from five clubs exceeded $60 million, Abreu’s agent Barry Praver said. Per some media members, the Rockies thought they would land Abreu until the White Sox exceeded their offer.
The White Sox are more than pleased with Abreu’s production this month, as he had 11 RBI through eight games. Even though he has downplayed expectations, White Sox manager Robin Ventura has believed for a while now Abreu would be a good pickup.
“You just hear it, the sound that comes off his bat when he hits it, especially going the other way,” Ventura said. “There are few guys that have it, and he’s one that has it. The way it comes off his bat, the sound, the velocity it comes off his bat, going the other way. In spring training, you see it a couple of times, you take a second look real quick, making sure you’re seeing the right thing. It’s a gift.”