Here’s a surprise from Wednesday night: The Los Angeles Dodgers have contacted the White Sox about Jose Abreu.
That’s per a report from NBC Los Angeles’ Michael J. Duarte.
Obviously, there’s no information about whether the White Sox are listening or not. But Abreu’s long-term future on the South Side has been a topic of conversation for some time, really ever since Rick Hahn’s front office started its rebuilding effort.
But should the White Sox decide that cashing in on the soon-to-be-31-year-old Abreu is better for the long-term future of the team than giving him a contract extension (or simply hanging onto him until the 2019 trade deadline), there are perhaps few more intriguing potential trade partners than the Dodgers.
They boast four prospects ranked in MLB Pipeline’s top 100: outfielder Alex Verdugo, catcher Keibert Ruiz, right-handed pitcher Dustin May and middle infielder Gavin Lux. And then there’s Walker Buehler, the 24-year-old right-handed starting pitcher who posted a 2.62 ERA in 24 games (23 of them starts) in 2018. He’s under team control for five more seasons, the type of long-term player that would line up perfectly with the White Sox bright future.
Abreu is beloved by the White Sox organization, a guy the brass frequently points to as an example for younger players to follow. Plus, he’s been an extraordinarily productive hitter since arriving from Cuba before the 2014 season, when he won the AL Rookie of the Year Award. He became the third player ever to start his career with four straight seasons with at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. But thanks to a prolonged midseason slump and a pair of freak injuries, Abreu failed to match those numbers in 2018 and ended up with his worst statistical season as a big leaguer — though he was still the AL’s starting first baseman in the All-Star Game and a Silver Slugger.
His advancing age, a down season (no matter how fluky) and just one more season remaining on his current contract might make Abreu a less-than-perfect long-term fit than he seemed at this time a year ago.
The White Sox still have plenty of flexibility to make a decision on Abreu. They can trade him this offseason, trade him at the deadline or give him a contract extension that keeps him around as the team transitions from rebuilding mode to contention mode.
But at least one team, one that potentially has a lot to offer in return, has interest. And given how productive Abreu’s been since coming to the U.S., it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that others do, too.