Posted on November 22, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Chicago White Sox appear to be firm believers in getting their business done early in the offseason. One day after signing free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year deal, the White Sox have locked up first baseman Jose Abreu on a long-term deal. Abreu and the White Sox agreed to a three-year deal worth $50 million. The contract runs through the 2022 season and will replace the $17.8 million qualifying offer Abreu signed earlier this month.
“From the moment he stepped into the Major Leagues, José Abreu has been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said in a statement. “He has consistently delivered run production at a historic pace, and with each passing season, his leadership role within our clubhouse – with both American-born and Latin-American players – has repeatedly grown.”
The 32-year-old Abreu has spent his entire major league career with the White Sox. He defected from Cuba and signed with the White Sox in October 2013. In 2014, Abreu won Rookie of the Year honors and has been Chicago’s primary first baseman and one of the team’s most important hitters ever since. He has a career batting average of .293 and has hit at least 30 home runs in four of his six big league seasons. Abreu is also fresh of a season in which he led the American League in RBIs with 123 and was named an all-star for the third time.
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Despite boasting impressive numbers, Abreu’s time in Chicago has been far from perfect. The White Sox have yet to put together a winning season since he came to the Windy City. Abreu was also the subject of trade rumors when the White Sox went into a full-scale rebuild a few years ago. However, the White Sox never pulled the trigger on a trade. In the past, Abreu has spoken about wanting to spend his entire career with one team, and this extension could help make that a reality.
“This is a dream come true for me and my family,” Abreu said in a press release. “To the fans, I told you I would come back. I never doubted it. Everybody knows the group of talented players that we have, and I want to help guide them and together make the Chicago White Sox a championship team.”
With the extension, Abreu is now a part of both the present and the future for the White Sox. After years of rebuilding, the club finally looks ready to start competing in 2020. With Grandal signing, Chicago has a second veteran hitter to help anchor the lineup alongside Abreu, who has shouldered too much of the burden for the White Sox in recent years. With the emergence of young players like Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, and Tim Anderson, Abreu suddenly has a lot of help around him.
For the White Sox, signing Abreu to an extension is another sign that they’re committed to winning in 2020 and beyond. While there is plenty of young talent in the organization, there’s no replacing an established veteran like Abreu, especially one who has consistently produced over the last six seasons. At $50 million for three years, the White Sox should get good value for Abreu, as long as he avoids a sudden drop-off in performance. Meanwhile, Abreu gets to stay with the only team he’s ever known and wants to know, making this extension a win-win for both parties.