White Sox

White Sox extend qualifying offer to Jeff Samardzija

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White Sox extend qualifying offer to Jeff Samardzija

They didn’t receive much on the field, but the White Sox are still hoping to get some value from Jeff Samardzija.

The White Sox extended a qualifying offer to the pitcher on Friday, which ensures they would receive a compensatory draft pick were he to sign with another team after free agency kicks off at 11:01 p.m. CST.

[RELATED - White Sox decline 2016 option on Alexei Ramirez]

Samardzija — who went 11-13 with a 4.96 ERA for the White Sox — has until next Friday to accept the club’s one-year, $15.8-million offer. However, the right-hander is expected to decline, as he should receive considerable interest on the open market this offseason.

The New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cubs are believed to be among a number of parties interested in Samardzija, who was acquired by the White Sox from the Oakland A’s last December in exchange for four players.

Samardzija never quite lived up to the hype as he pitched for the team for which he grew up rooting. The Northwest Indiana native allowed five earned runs in an Opening Day loss to Kansas City, one of 11 starts in which he yielded at least as many earned runs.

While Samardzija was fantastic in five July starts leading up to the trade deadline, he failed miserably after the White Sox opted to hang on to him. Samardzija lost six straight starts after July 31 and eight of nine overall, including a disastrous effort Sept. 15 in which he gave up 10 earned runs and 11 hits in three innings.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Still, teams are expected to line up for the Notre Dame product, who has low mileage on his arm despite the fact he’ll be 31 on Opening Day 2016. Samardzija only has 1,501 innings pitched as a pro pitcher, including 991 2/3 in the majors.

No player ever has accepted a qualifying offer. The White Sox would receive a compensatory pick after the first round if Samardzija signs elsewhere as expected. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Rebuild advice from 3 Houston Astros All-Stars

With the White Sox in the middle of a rebuild, Chuck Garfien spoke with 3 Houston Astros All-Stars who explained how they went from a rebuilding team to World Series champions. Jose Altuve, George Springer and Alex Bregman talk about how they dealt with losing, how they learned how to win, the importance of adding veterans to the young core, and how they kept hope alive during the rebuild.  Then later, Chuck spoke with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain trying to understand how he dominated the White Sox for so many years.

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu didn't come to White Sox looking for leadership role, but he's the face of the franchise on the All-Star stage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jose Abreu didn’t come to the White Sox to be a leader. But that’s what he is as he took his spot among the best in baseball at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game.

Abreu is the face of the South Side baseball club and he’s had a stellar-enough first four and a half seasons in Major League Baseball to earn the distinction of a starter in the Midsummer Classic. But Abreu, unsurprisingly, doesn’t look at himself as one of the best in the game. He looks as himself as a hard-worker.

“I don’t believe that I’m the best,” Abreu said through a team translator on Monday. “I’m just a person who likes to work hard every day and try to do my best.”

That humility is nothing new to folks who follow the White Sox on a regular basis. And neither is talk of Abreu’s work ethic, the admiration of everyone involved with the team and a constant talking point from Rick Hahn, Rick Renteria and all Abreu’s teammates.

Abreu has become as important for his off-the-field roles as he has for his on-the-field production for this rebuilding White Sox team. He’s been described as a role model for all the young players in the organization, whether they’re on the big league roster right now or coming up through the system.

“None of them have told me that yet,” Abreu joked. “But I know that. It’s definitely a compliment, and I take it as something that makes you feel good, something that makes you keep moving forward and to keep trying to help the guys to improve and get better as a team. You feel like that is a big honor, that people think that way of you.”

As good as he feels to be held in such esteem, Abreu didn’t set out to be one of this team’s leaders when he came to the United States. And to be honest, he might not be in his current position if it weren’t for the team’s rebuilding effort. Abreu is one of the few veterans on this team.

“That was something that happened. I didn’t look for it,” Abreu said. “I was always trying to help people and trying to give advice to help people to improve. But I never tried to be a leader. If people say that because of what I do, that’s good, but that’s not something that I’m trying to force or something that I say, ‘I want to be a leader.’ No, that’s not who I am. I am just the kind of person who likes to help people, who likes to give advice.”

Abreu is seemingly the definition of what the White Sox want their next winning roster to be full of. And whether it’s the special relationship he has with fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada or the role-model status he holds in the eyes of his other teammates, both current and future, he’s helping the White Sox develop those kinds of players.

Oh, and he’s generally — though this season has seen an extended slump and atypical numbers — one of the most consistently productive hitters in the game.

Who wouldn’t want all that as the face of the franchise?

“It’s all a blessing. I can’t ask for anything else,” Abreu said. “I’m a true believer that if you work hard, good things are going to happen. That’s why I work hard every day, I try to do my best, I try to improve every day and just to be a better person. Not just a better player, but a better person.”