Jerry Reinsdorf

In interview, Jose Abreu says Jerry Reinsdorf told him he'll never play for another team

In interview, Jose Abreu says Jerry Reinsdorf told him he'll never play for another team

The evidence that Jose Abreu will be back with the White Sox after his contract ends at the end of this season has been ample throughout 2019.

Here's some more.

In an interview with the Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen, the slugging first baseman said that White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has told him that he will play for the White Sox for the remainder of his major league career.

"Jerry, several times, has told me and my family that I am not going to wear a jersey other than a White Sox jersey," Abreu told Van Schouwen. "I believe him. I believe in his word. And like I said, I’m very happy with and loyal to this organization. Hopefully everything is going to pan out."

That's the latest example of the mutual admiration between Abreu and the White Sox. Abreu has spent much of 2019 talking about his love for the organization and his desire to stay with the team as it makes the transition from rebuilding mode to contention mode. Likewise, White Sox brass continuously talks about how much Abreu means to the team, not only as a productive hitter but as a mentor for the team's growing group of young players.

“The impact that I don’t think he really knows that he has is how hard of a worker he is,” James McCann said last month at the All-Star Game in Cleveland. “He’s a superstar. He’s a three-time All Star, he puts up unreal numbers, he’s setting organizational records. But you wouldn’t know that based on the way that he acts, the way that he goes about his business, the way that he works. He’s the first one in the cage, he’s in the weight room every day, he leads by example.

“So for me, the impact that he has is when a young kid shows up there and thinks he’s made it and then looks at this guy over here who’s busting his tail day in and day out. That’s only a good thing. It helps the culture. It helps the clubhouse realize, ‘Hey, we’ve still got to work.’”

While general manager Rick Hahn has made it clear that it's unlikely Abreu would get a new deal before the end of the season, with the White Sox preferring to take care of such business in the offseason, he's also said that it's "very likely" Abreu will be around for the good times after experiencing nothing but losing records in his six big league seasons with the White Sox since coming over from Cuba ahead of the 2014 campaign.

Abreu's resume is undeniably terrific, a three-time All Star with consistent levels of production that made him just the third player in major league history — along with Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols — to start his big league career with four straight seasons of at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs.

He's also red hot at the moment, with a .325/.382/.613 slash line to go along with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 20 games this month. And that's before he started Wednesday's game with three hits. He's on pace to smash his career high for RBIs, up to 96 of them on the campaign as of this writing. After a pair of freak injuries last season that limited his production in 2018, Abreu has played in every White Sox game but one this season.

The White Sox have repeatedly mentioned their love for Abreu as a mentor and role model for all the organization's young players, and it's clear that they hold him in the same esteem as players who have their numbers retired and have statues built at Guaranteed Rate Field. Reinsdorf presented Abreu with a specially made ring when Abreu hit for the cycle in 2017.

Abreu has returned that love over and over again in his comments, and it seems like a new contract between the two parties is inevitable.

"I’m telling you guys that if the White Sox don’t sign me, I’m going to sign here anyway. I’m going to sign myself here," he said last month. "I’m going to be here, believe me. I’m going to be here.

"I don’t want to miss this, I don’t want to miss what is coming, and I’m going to be here."

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New report offers details on White Sox quest to land Bryce Harper

New report offers details on White Sox quest to land Bryce Harper

LAS VEGAS — Want some details about the White Sox pursuit of the biggest name on this winter's free-agent market and one of the best players in baseball?

Well, USA Today's Bob Nightengale offered some tidbits about the quest to bring Bryce Harper to the South Side.

The White Sox — who one analyst called the front runner in the Harper derby Wednesday — featured heavily in Nightengale's report from the Winter Meetings chronicling the sweepstakes to hand out what's expected to be the richest contract in baseball history. According to Nightengale, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Scott Boras, Harper's agent, have twice spoken via telephone, an interesting item in the wake of Boras' Wednesday press conference, when he said he always enjoys talking with Reinsdorf.

Nightengale added that the White Sox met with Harper on Nov. 19, a sitdown that reportedly included general manager Rick Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams and Hall of Famer Jim Thome. Then there was this line, make of it what you will.

"Reinsdorf was not at the meeting, and still has not granted permission for Williams and Hahn to negotiate a contract."

So what's all this mean?

Well, it's just the latest reported example of the White Sox commitment to landing a big fish like Harper, to add a 26-year-old superstar to their rebuild effort and watch their highly touted prospects grow up around him, turning Chicago's South Side baseball team into a perennial championship contender.

Though teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees, the Cubs and, to an extent, the Philadelphia Phillies can pitch win-now rosters, the White Sox future-focused pitch seems to be working. Hahn talked Wednesday about the positive feedback he's received from the other side of the table when it comes to the White Sox talking up Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease and Luis Robert. That quartet has played a grand total of four Major League Baseball games, but the future is so bright, it seems to be drawing the attention of some of baseball's big names.

What's been made abundantly clear at these Winter Meetings is that the White Sox are going to be aggressive in their pursuit of a player that fits their long-term plan. And Harper (not to mention his fellow mega free agent Manny Machado) certainly fits the long-term plan. Being aggressive also means being willing to pay the big bucks these kinds of players command, and the White Sox certainly seem willing to do that, too.

That doesn't mean they'll make the biggest offer, of course, because there are other teams out there willing to do that, too. Nightengale added that the Phillies are still the favorites in the Harper derby. They've vowed to spend "stupid" this offseason.

And so maybe the White Sox go to Glendale, Arizona, for spring training without Harper in tow. But what they will remain is serious about making this rebuilding effort yield a winner. This latest report is just the latest example of that here in Vegas.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Harold Baines elected to the Hall of Fame!

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Harold Baines elected to the Hall of Fame!

The MLB Winter Meetings began with a big surprise: White Sox legend Harold Baines is headed to Cooperstown. On the podcast, Baines talks about:

3:42 - What it means to make the Hall of Fame, how surprised he was to get the call and more.

6:20 - Ron Kittle talks about his former teammate and explains what he told Baines when he heard the news. 

10:42 - Jerry Reinsdorf who was a part of the voting committee explains why Baines is a Hall of Famer.  

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below!

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