The Astros did, in fact, make a hard bid on Abreu while falling short: Heard their bid was between $50 million and $60 million.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 17, 2013
So there are a few things I'm choosing to take away here:
1) When I moved to New York, I immediately sought out and became friends with the two other Texans in our small town. We became fast friends, and having some familiarity in a totally different place brought The Wife and I a lot of comfort. So that Abreu took a deal with the White Sox, who already have Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo - both from Cuba - should not be surprising. They know what he'll be going through, and provide an instant support system for Abreu.
2) For those of you who said, "You didn't really expect the Astros to spend money, did you?" you're missing the point. That the Astros were among the front-runners according to both Buster Olney's and MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez's sources means that there was legitimacy to the Astros' interest. I don't think it's fair to write off the Astros as posturing for Abreu just to make the fanbase happy. This isn't Jon Heyman writing a friendly Boras column - to generate enough interest that both ESPN and MLB.com write it up is legitimate. The Astros just got beat on this one.
3) One of my first thoughts was, "Well, if you're going to go to $60m, what's $10m more?" But that's not how this front office works. Remember there is a Director of Decision Sciences on staff. It's fine if you don't agree with it, but you just know there are a variety of projections for Abreu that made him worth the $50-60m range, but not $68m.
4) Did the Astros bid high enough on Abreu to generate some publicity, knowing that Abreu probably wouldn't take the deal (the White Sox are too perfect for Abreu, anyway)? Maybe, but that's a pretty high-risk gamble to make - $60m for a few mid-October headlines/tweets.
5) I do think the Astros' interest was legitimate. I just also think they stick pretty hard and fast to their projections and process. Of course $68m for Abreu means...
Scouting consensus is that Masahiro Tanaka is better than Jose Abreu. Total price tag for him should be going up.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) October 18, 2013
Back up the truck, Crane. Money, mouth, etc.