White Sox

The ring's the thing: Jerry Reinsdorf gives Jose Abreu some bling after sixth all-time White Sox cycle

The ring's the thing: Jerry Reinsdorf gives Jose Abreu some bling after sixth all-time White Sox cycle

Jose Abreu hopes he will be a part of the next White Sox team to win a world championship.

But while he waits for that day, he’s already starting his jewelry collection.

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf presented Abreu with a special ring Thursday, honoring the slugger for becoming the sixth player in team history to hit for the cycle.

Abreu’s cycle was one of the highlights of what’s been a remarkable second half for the fourth-year Cuban import. Coming in Sept. 9’s game against the San Francisco Giants, Abreu became the first White Sox player to hit for the cycle since Jose Valentin did it in 2000.

A ring with the same design as the one Abreu got Thursday was also given to Valentin in 2000 and Chris Singleton in 1999.

Abreu was honored on the field before Thursday night’s game for that accomplishment, as well as for becoming the third player ever to begin his major league career with four straight 25-homer, 100-RBI seasons, joining Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols. Pujols, in town with the visiting Los Angeles Angels, joined Abreu during his on-field recognition.

With Giancarlo Stanton's big bat off the market, could White Sox see uptick in Jose Abreu interest?

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USA TODAY

With Giancarlo Stanton's big bat off the market, could White Sox see uptick in Jose Abreu interest?

Giancarlo Stanton is off the board. Shohei Ohtani is off the board. So where will teams looking to make a big offseason splash turn next?

Stanton's reported trade to the New York Yankees and Ohtani's decision to sign with the Los Angeles Angels seem to have officially cleared the path for offseason activity to pick up, just in time for the Winter Meetings, which begin Monday in Florida.

And while a recent report from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal said that the White Sox are unlikely to trade Jose Abreu this offseason, you have to wonder if certain teams that missed out on Stanton and Ohtani might give Rick Hahn a call to inquire about the first baseman and his middle-of-the-order bat.

While all these teams aren't necessarily — or even remotely — a fit for Abreu, the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals both had trades rejected by Stanton, and the Cubs, Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners all made Ohtani's list of finalists but didn't land the Japanese import. That's a lot of teams that just got a no from one or both of baseball's biggest offseason targets — not to mention the teams that couldn't get into the running in the first place.

Now, there are a lot of bats on the free-agent market, and several of the biggest ones are first basemen, no doubt affecting the market for and the likelihood of an Abreu trade. Still out there for the taking are J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Carlos Santana, among others. All those guys cost is money, as opposed to one or multiple top prospects.

But Abreu's numbers over the past four seasons should at least attract the attention of a large number of teams. He's one of just three players ever (along with Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols, which is good company to be in) to hit 25 home runs and rack up 100 RBIs in each of his first four major league seasons. Last year, he hit 33 homers, drove in 102 runs, had a career-high 43 doubles, struck out a career-low 119 times and slashed .304/.354/.552. And Abreu is under team control for only two more seasons, meaning that any team that would trade for him wouldn't be taking on a significant amount of long-term risk in having to pay an exorbitant amount for a player moving out of his prime years.

Now, as mentioned, Rosenthal reported just a few days ago that the White Sox are likely to hang on to Abreu this offseason, citing both that aforementioned free-agent market for first basemen and a potentially high asking price. The Boston Red Sox have reportedly been interested, but the White Sox have been reportedly asking for an awful lot in return, with Hahn perhaps looking to acquire a package similar to the ones he got in deals that shipped Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana away from the South Side.

But now there are teams looking to bring in an impact bat that were hoping for Stanton or Ohtani. Without them, does desperation kick in? Does the price seem a little less unreasonable? The Red Sox are especially worth noting, as they just saw their division rivals add a guy who hit 59 home runs last season and team him with another guy who hit 52 home runs last season to create the most formidable middle of the order in baseball. That could provide some extra motivation to make a move for Abreu.

Remember, too, that should Abreu start the 2018 season with the White Sox, it doesn't mean he'll end it with the White Sox — barring a still-to-come announcement of a contract extension, of course. So all these teams that missed out on Stanton and Ohtani could possibly still be looking to add a big bat a few months down the road.

The trade of Stanton has huge implications on every team in baseball, it would seem, with the very least of those being that regular offseason business can officially get started. For the White Sox, the effects could be significantly bigger than that.

Maybe Jose Abreu won't be going anywhere? One report says White Sox unlikely to trade him

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USA TODAY

Maybe Jose Abreu won't be going anywhere? One report says White Sox unlikely to trade him

Maybe Jose Abreu won’t be going anywhere.

According to a report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Thursday morning, the White Sox are unlikely to trade Abreu, who’s been the subject of tons of trade speculation this offseason.

“Barring an unexpected turn,” Rosenthal writes, “the Chicago White Sox are unlikely to trade first baseman Jose Abreu to the Boston Red Sox or any other club.”

Rosenthal also points out that in an offseason featuring a lot of free-agent first basemen, teams might not be willing to match the White Sox asking price for Abreu.

Rick Hahn has plenty of options with Abreu, who has been the model of consistency with the bat during his first four years in the major leagues. In 2017, Abreu joined Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols as the only players ever to hit 25 home runs and rack up 100 RBIs in their first four seasons in the bigs. He finished the 2017 campaign with 33 homers, 102 RBIs and a .304/.354/.552 slash line.

That kind of production figured to make Abreu a strong trade candidate, as did his contract situation. He’s under team control for two more seasons, meaning that while he’s in his prime now, any team trading for Abreu wouldn’t have to worry about a long-term contract that continues to pay the Cuban import past his prime.

But there are plenty of reasons why the White Sox would want to keep Abreu, too. That production is chief among those reasons, and it’s not difficult to imagine Abreu continuing to produce several years into the future, including when the White Sox rebuild reaches its apex and the team’s contention window opens. Abreu has also developed into a leader in the clubhouse and a mentor for young players, especially Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who also hail from Cuba.

The thing is, with his team control ending after the 2019 season, the White Sox will have a decision to make: Do they or do they not give Abreu a contract extension? While rapid prospect development and the recent signing of veteran catcher Welington Castillo could indicate the front office believes the rebuild is moving along quicker than initially anticipated, 2020 is still the year assumed by many fans and observers as the year when that contention window begins. If that’s the case and the White Sox want Abreu around for that, they’ll need to give him a new contract, which could be a pricey one considering the aforementioned offensive numbers.

Also, holding on to Abreu this winter doesn’t mean he won’t be traded in the future. Abreu could still be a trade candidate around the 2018 trade deadline, when teams in pennant races might be a bit more willing to part with highly ranked prospects. Or he could be a trade candidate again next offseason, or at the trade deadline in 2019.

One thing Hahn has here is flexibility and several different options to consider that don’t need to be decided on right now. Or perhaps there’s still a surprise move to be made involving Abreu at next week’s Winter Meetings.