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."