Houston Astros release first baseman José Abreu

The Astros released Abreu, who is still owed more than $30 million, after sending him to the minors in April

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JUNE 01: Jose Abreu #79 of the Houston Astros is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after a solo home run in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Minute Maid Park on June 01, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros have released first baseman José Abreu, the team announced Friday.

Abreu, who signed a three-year free-agent contract in 2022 worth $58.5 million, is still owed more than $30 million of that contract, per multiple reports. Houston will eat the cost as a result of letting Abreu go.

The move comes soon after the Astros optioned Abreu to the minors in April after a dismal start, with Abreu averaging 0.099. The Cuban infielder and designated hitter has slumped horribly this season with a .124 average, a .361 OPS and two home runs.

During his time with the Chicago White Sox, Abreu was AL MVP in 2020, as well as a three-time All-Star (2014, 2018, 2019) and three-time Silver Slugger (2014, 2018, 2020).

However, he struggled in his first season in Houston: His 2023 average of .237 was a career-low prior to this season. Before going to Houston, Abreu had posted an average of .304 with the White Sox in 2022.

The Astros opted to send Abreu down to Houston's affiliate in West Palm Beach on April 30, with general manager Dana Brown saying the decision was mutual between Abreu and the team, and that it would not be a long-term change.

"We need to get some production out of first base," Brown said. "We'll do whatever we have to do."

Abreu returned to the team for a May series against the Seattle Mariners and has started several games since. He's averaged .156 throughout the month of June.

The Astros are currently 31-38 and sit third in a dismally bad AL West.