White Sox

Jose Abreu thinks White Sox 'have the core group here'

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Jose Abreu thinks White Sox 'have the core group here'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- They clearly have some holes to fill but Jose Abreu doesn’t think the White Sox are far off from fielding a winning club.

While he’s one of many who have difficulty in identifying exactly what ails the 62-70 White Sox, Abreu said effort and preparation haven’t been an issue. He also doesn’t think the club’s talent is an issue and believes it’s all about mindset. If the White Sox can learn from some of the difficult lessons they’ve received this season, there’s no reason they can’t win with a similar group next season.

“We don’t have to look for too much,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I think we have the core group here. We have very talented players.”

[MORE SOX: Tyler Saladino could be White Sox SS until Tim Anderson is ready]

There’s little likelihood that the current roster returns in its entirety. Jeff Samardzija is headed for free agency and Alexei Ramirez could be, too. The White Sox could try to upgrade at catcher and might consider Tyler Saladino at shortstop if they can find a suitable third baseman in a trade or perhaps free agency.

The team may also have to consider trading Jose Quintana or a key bullpen arm to help fill some of its vacancies.

Despite a number of additions last offseason, the White Sox offense has still only averaged 3.82 runs per game. The team continues to struggle on the bases, ranking second in the majors with 61 outs on the bases, 15 more than the league average. And even though they’ve turned it around defensively, the White Sox are still second to last in Defensive Runs Saved, with minus-38.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Those are just a few of the factors that have kept the White Sox -- who have had few health issues -- from making a real run all season.

“There are too many things to just point to one and say, ‘Well, it’s because of that,’” Abreu said. “But you have to learn about the bad streaks, you have to learn about the losses, about what you have been doing badly and try to fix it for next season. That’s the way I see this, and that’s the way I think we have to work.”

Still, despite their myriad struggles, the White Sox aren’t likely for a massive overhaul as they had this past offseason. Abreu doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, either.

“It’s just a matter of working hard every day and trying to think and believe we are capable of winning and capable of reaching the playoffs and winning the World Series,” Abreu said. “It’s also a confidence point. If you can reinforce that, it’s going to put you in a better position for next year. (The front office has) to do their job also, but we have here the core players we need to win.”

Jose Abreu still leading AL first basemen to start 2018 MLB All-Star Game

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu still leading AL first basemen to start 2018 MLB All-Star Game

Last week, Jose Abreu had a nearly 26,000 vote lead to start the 2018 MLB All-Star game over Red Sox first basemen Mitch Moreland. But now Abreu can take a brief sigh of relief on his quest to Washington.

MLB updated the American League fan ballot standings Tuesday for the Midsummer Classic. The Sox first baseman now has a lead on Moreland by over 138,000 votes.

This an encouraging sign for Abreu and White Sox faithful. Are fans taking notice of Abreu’s production this season?

His numbers this year include a slash line of .283/.338/.500. He also has 11 homers, 41 RBIs and 26 doubles. For his career, Abreu has a .299 average, 135 homers and 451 RBIs in 683 games.

He ranks first among AL first basemen in hits, doubles, RBIs, SLG and OPS. In other major offensive statistics, Abreu ranks near the top 10 for almost all of them.

Abreu is a cornerstone in the White Sox rebuild and if he does indeed start, it could be huge for his confidence and the team.

An All-Star nod this season would also mean a second career appearance in the game. He debuted in his rookie year (2014) as a reserve.

If fans indeed vote Abreu in as a starter, he would be the first position player to start for the White Sox since Frank Thomas did it back-to-back as a first baseman in 1994 and 1995.

There is still time to cast your votes to see Abreu start the Midsummer Classic. The AL will have another updated voting ballot June 26.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: