White Sox

Jose Abreu: Rebuild 'was the right move for' White Sox

Jose Abreu: Rebuild 'was the right move for' White Sox

It isn't easy to see for him to see the top-tier talent go, but Jose Abreu said he's OK with the direction the White Sox are headed.

The White Sox slugger spent much of Friday at SoxFest with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada doing tandem interviews or participating in team social media activities. Moncada, one of two elite prospects acquired in the Chris Sale trade, represents the franchise's new path.

After years of trying to compete without the aid of a fully functioning farm system, the White Sox opted to go a different route, dig deep and start a rebuild. And even though Abreu's main goal is to play for a winner, he said he understands why general manager Rick Hahn set a different course for the White Sox.

"(Trades) are things we can't control as players," Abreu said through an interpreter. "I'm glad I'm here right now because I love this team and I want to play for this team for a very long time.

"About the trade, that was a team decision. They felt in that moment, and we all think right now, it was the right move for us, thinking about the future.

"We'll see. I'm glad to be here. I'm glad to be with all these guys, the new players too."

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Abreu and Moncada played together one season for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series when the second baseman was only 17. The veteran slugger, who is under team control for three more seasons, said the two have spoken quite a bit since the Dec. 6 brought the second baseman to the White Sox about what to expect and "what we expect," he said.

Abreu sounds ready to take Moncada under his wing if the White Sox want him to and, of course, as long as he stays with the team.

"I embrace every role the team wants me to play," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's a mentor role or a leader role, I'm going to be the same player I've been during my whole career. Right now, I'm going to try to do a little bit more teaching these guys how to do well here."

Just how long Abreu would stay remains to be seen. Now in his first season of arbitration, Abreu will earn $10.83 million in 2017. He's eligible for free agency after the 2019 season, which adds value to his trade stock because a team would be able to acquire him for more than just next year.

But similar to Todd Frazier, Abreu's trade market has been slower to materialize this offseason because of a glut of available right-handed power in free agency. Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo and Mike Napoli were all available via free agency as was switch-hitter Kendrys Morales.

Rather than trade away prospects, teams could simply sign free agents for the cost of money -- and in the case of Encarnacion and Houston, a draft pick.

With fewer options likely to be readily available, there's a better chance Abreu or Frazier could be moved before the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline. But Abreu said he'd like to stay if he were given the choice even though he expects rough times ahead.

"I think we are ready for all the challenges we are going to face during the season and in the future," Abreu said. "It's a long season. You're gonna hits some bumps. You have to move on and do your best every single day. That's the way we need to approach the season. There's no other way to do it."

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

So often in this rebuilding season, Rick Renteria has talked of "learning moments," and as is evident from the team's win-loss numbers and many other statistics, those "learning moments" have largely ended in negative results.

It's not to say the lessons haven't been valuable ones, and growing pains now could lead to big-time success down the road, when the White Sox shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

But Tuesday night in Detroit, one young player, a significant piece of the team's long-term plans, succeeded in such a moment. And it looked like a step forward for a guy who's called himself one of the most inconsistent pitchers in baseball this season.

Lucas Giolito looked like he was heading for another disappointing outing early, when he relinquished a three-run lead in the first inning, allowing three runs that grew his first-inning ERA on the season to 8.63. But he settled down nicely from there, allowing just two base runners over the next four innings and allowing the White Sox to jump back ahead, which they did, leading 6-3 by the time Giolito's biggest challenge came around.

The Tigers loaded the bases to start the bottom of the sixth, putting three on with nobody out for Giolito, who has been susceptible to the big inning often this season, including in his previous start, when he gave up six runs in the second inning against the New York Yankees.

Renteria could've pulled the plug there and brought in a fresh reliever to try and limit the damage and keep his team's three-run lead alive. Instead, he allowed Giolito to stay in — another example of certain developmental things being more important than wins and losses this season — and the right-hander rewarded him. Giolito got a shallow flyball, a strikeout and a popup on the infield to end the inning with no runs scoring.

Giolito was obviously happy about that, and cameras showed him sharing a smile with Renteria in the dugout.

The White Sox won the game and now have a 6-2 record in Giolito's last eight starts. They're .500 (12-12) in his 24 starts this season, an interesting note, if not a terribly meaningful one, considering the team's overall record is 33 games below the .500 mark.

These "learning moments" have defined this developmental season on the South Side, and often they've come with the caveat of growing pains and the promise of a better tomorrow, despite a somewhat painful present.

This moment, though, came with a very visible sign of things moving in the right direction for Giolito. It doesn't mean Giolito will take off from here. But it's a good sign and something the White Sox have to be happy about as Giolito continues to develop at the major league level.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Will the White Sox call up Jimenez and/or Kopech this season?

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AP/USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Will the White Sox call up Jimenez and/or Kopech this season?

With Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech dominating in Triple-A, we tackle the No. 1 question on the mind of every White Sox fan: Are either or both of the White Sox top prospects going to play in the majors this year?

Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber and Slavko Bekovic give their takes and predictions. Plus, which other minor leaguers should be called up in September?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: