For the third time in less than a week, Abreu has voiced his unwavering intent to be a part of the White Sox for the foreseeable future, even though his current contract is up at the end of this season and he’s slated to hit the free-agent market.
“That tells you how good we are right now and how good we can be,” he said through team interpreter Billy Russo, asked what it meant to have teammates joining him at the Midsummer Classic after being the lone White Sox representative a year ago. “And we’re going to be very, very good.
“That’s why I’m telling you guys that if the White Sox don’t sign me, I’m going to sign here anyway. I’m going to sign myself here. I’m going to be here, believe me. I’m going to be here. I don’t want to miss this, I don’t want to miss what is coming, and I’m going to be here.”
If you’re a White Sox fan and can’t see how much Abreu means to this organization off the field, look no further than his quote from the All Star Game in Cleveland yesterday. He eats, drinks, sleeps and breaths White Sox baseball. Moncada and others have said how much he works with them to get better and Hahn and Co. never have a single bad word to say about him.
Now, it’s great that both upper management and Abreu want to be back. Both parties know what’s less than a year away: that magical phrase “sustained success”.
But should the White Sox bring Abreu back?
Well, that depends. Let’s talk some hypotheticals on how to handle Abreu moving forward:
1. TRADE ABREU:
Abreu would be more than a welcome addition to any contender in baseball that needs an offensive push in the 2nd half. He had a dog shit May where he had a 95 wRC+ and a .232/.256/.528 slash line with 10 bombs, (that was partially aided by a shit sub .270 BABIP) but since then he’s hit .320/.338/.520. That’s the Abreu we know and love, though his walk rate leaves a lot to be desired
But in the analytics age, Abreu *probably* wouldn’t net much in a trade. He’s a 32 year old 1B/DH that currently sits at 1.0 fWAR and 1.3 bWAR, and almost ALL of that value has come from his offense this year.
There hasn’t been much recent history in trading 1B/DH types at the deadline. A lot of that is because they are somewhat a dime a dozen. The best way to gauge trade value is to look at similar player profiles that have recently been dealt and there just isn’t any good comps in the last year or two. With there no longer being a waiver deadline in August, this July 31st could be WAY more active than typical with more teams being in contention at the time, so that might help his value a tick.
The next best way would be to look at needs of contenders. In the AL these are the contenders in no order:
2. Cleveland (was hesitant to put them but they have been HOT the last few weeks)
The rest of the teams are dog shit. And no don’t talk about Anaheim, they suck too.
Here are the 1B/DH’s for AL teams:
1. Minnesota: Nelson Cruz/Marwin Gonzalez – Cruz still rakes, but Marwin Gonzales has stunk since signing his big deal; not sure the White Sox would trade Abreu inner division, but the Twins might inquire to upgrade over Gonzales (probably not though)
2. Cleveland: Jake Bauers/Carlos Santana – Santana was an all star but Bauers STINKS. They might go scorched earth fire sale though and trade EVERYONE, so who knows with them
3. NYY: not a fit; too many 1b/DH types on their roster already. Even adding Encarnacion seemed kinda weird.
4. Boston: Chavis/Martinez – eh…. na. Martinez is one of the very best hitters in baseball and Chavis has done just fine. Wouldn’t call this a fit unless they want to marginally upgrade (if that) over Chavis and don’t trust him in a playoff race
5. Tampa: Yandy Diaz/Avi Garcia – this could maybe happen. Garcia has been annoyingly decent this year but Abreu is a better pure hitter in every facet than him. Yandy Diaz is also okay but Abreu is a clear offensive upgrade over him as well.
6. Oakland: Matt Olson/Krush Davis – I don’t see this happening at all
7. Texas: Ronald Guzman/ Shin Shoo Choo – Guzman sucks. Choo is a pretty goddamn good hitter. But… yeah just don’t see this happening. Texas is more than an Abreu away from true contention
8. Houston: Yordan Alvarez/Tyler White – Abreu isn’t a true upgrade over either, especially Alvarez. Ain’t happening
So the only “yeah let’s talk Abreu” fit I truly see in the AL (where Abreu can play DH) is Tampa. MAYBE Minnesota and Boston, but that’d be about it.
1. Entire NL Central
2. Dodgers, Padres, Rockies (eh), D-Backs (eh)
3. Braves, Nats, Phillies
Not sure how gung-ho a lot of these teams would be to trade for a poor defensive 1B. But the Cubs don’t need him, Jesus Aguilar has stunk for the Brewers, so that’s a maybe, Cardinals don’t need him, Reds don’t need him, and Pirates don’t need him.
Nobody in the NL West would want him and nobody in the NL East would want him. They all have comparable or better 1B as it is.
So that was basically a long winded way of saying… there’s only a few teams that would want Jose Abreu. His market will be barren, as will it this winter.
That’s why the White Sox will *probably* do this:
Extend him, but only a few years max. Hahn won’t think with his heart, nor should he. Unless he totally rips off a team for a top 100 prospect or two, Abreu ain’t getting dealt. He’s going to ride out this season and sign something like a 2 year, $25-30MM with a mutual option for a 3rd year. And that option I added is a big, big maybe.
Looking at the current landscape of the league, there just isn’t a big need for Abreu at this years deadline or going into the offseason for really anyone in baseball. That’s why you’ll see him sign a dirt cheap, short term extension this winter.
Abreu is more than likely going to retire playing his entire career with the Sox. Good for him – he’s been awesome for the organization on and off the field. But he also has next to zero leverage in his next contract negotiation. Doesn’t sound like he cares too much, either. Let Vaughn get hot in the minors, call him up in 2020, and Jose Abreu will make a more than fine DH for when this team is a contender.
That or give JD Martinez something like 5/$100MM when he opts out this year. I could fuck with that too. Just keep winning goddamn baseball games.