White Sox

There'd be no better White Sox representative at All-Star Game than Jose Abreu, who 'would like to stay here forever'

There'd be no better White Sox representative at All-Star Game than Jose Abreu, who 'would like to stay here forever'

The White Sox are all about the future, all about youth, at this point in their rebuilding effort.

But there’s no better template for what the organization is trying to build than the 31-year-old who could be the team’s lone representative at the All-Star Game next month.

Jose Abreu was revealed as the leading vote-getter among American League first basemen Tuesday, a surprising feat considering his place on a team 20 games under .500 and on a team that doesn’t play in New York or Boston.

Abreu’s statistics certainly make him deserving, as he’s once again been the model of consistency with a .290/.350/.512 slash line that stands high above his competition at the position. But to understand how shocking it is that he’s leading the vote, know this: He’s the first White Sox player to lead his position at any point during balloting since 1996.

“It will be excellent because we play this game for the fans,” Abreu said through a translator Tuesday when asked what it would mean to be voted an American League starter. “To have the honor to represent them and they know what I’m doing, that is really big. If that happens, I would be really happy.”

“We’re pretty excited about that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “All of us, the coaching staff, are very excited. I’m sure the players are, as well. He’s worked really hard and has had some very good seasons. He’ll continue to have another nice season this year. It would be nice to see him there, get the chance to for the whole world to see who Jose Abreu is.”

Abreu has been extremely consistent ever since arriving from Cuba before the 2014 season, last year becoming the third player ever to hit at least 25 homers and drive in at least 100 runs in each of his first four major league seasons. But he’s been to just one All-Star Game, during his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2014.

“Those are the experiences you never forget,” he said about his All-Star trip in 2014. “You work for it, and at that time it was recognition for all my work, and for the journey to come to the U.S. and the majors.

“One of the best moments was when I met Derek Jeter, he was in his retirement year and it was a very special moment for me. Just being there, being around great players and having the opportunity to share the field and locker room with them was very special.”

The production speaks for itself, and it’s been enough to make Abreu worthy of an All-Star appearance at pretty much any point throughout his career. But to the White Sox, he’s so much more than a slash line and a collection of home runs and RBIs. He’s a model for what they want all their young players to be, an example of work ethic and how to go about one’s business. He earns rave reviews from every corner of the White Sox clubhouse, and it’s not difficult to see why the team would be especially excited to see Abreu earn this All-Star nod.

It’s also not at all surprising to see why they would want Abreu to stick around throughout this rebuilding process and be a key contributor on the next contending team. Of course, that would necessitate the White Sox inking Abreu to a contract extension, as he’s only under team control through the 2019 season. But that decision doesn’t seem like a difficult one.

“We’ve made no secret about our affection for Jose, and it’s not just based upon the contribution between the white lines, it’s based on what he does in that clubhouse,” general manager Rick Hahn said Monday. “I don’t think there’s a finer representative for what it means to be a White Sock or what we hope for our players to be on and off the field and what Jose Abreu provides us.

“Again, we don’t have to make any decisions on how he fits for the long term for a little while now. He’s under control through the end of next season. If at that point, before that point, if we haven’t come to terms on an extension we certainly will have time then to revisit that.”

For any other team in any other rebuild with any other veteran player, a season like Abreu’s and a potential trip to the All-Star Game might make him an obvious midseason trade candidate. But read Hahn’s words again. Does it sound like Abreu is a guy the White Sox want to deal away? No, it doesn’t. And it sounds like Abreu doesn’t want that, either.

“Right now I am with this organization. I am glad and really grateful for everything this organization has done for me. I would like to stay here forever,” Abreu said, “but right now I am just taking advantage of every moment, every game that I spend with this team. Hopefully I can stay here my whole career.”

White Sox reportedly trade for Yonder Alonso

White Sox reportedly trade for Yonder Alonso

After a lot of rumors and not many moves at the Winter Meetings, the White Sox made a notable trade after everyone left Las Vegas.

The White Sox reportedly traded for first baseman Yonder Alonso from Cleveland.

There hasn't been much in the way of information on the deal out there yet, but one thing worth noting with Alonso is that he is the brother-in-law of Manny Machado. This is after the White Sox were reportedly set to meet with Machado next week.

Outside of his connection to Machado, the trade is an odd fit without the context of the entire offseason yet. Alonso is 31 and coming off a bit of a down year by his standards. He hit .250/.317/.421 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs last season with the Indians. The year before that he was an All-Star for the first time in his career while splitting the season between the Mariners and A's.

Alonso is under contract for $8 million in 2019 and has a $9 million option (that includes a $1 million buyout) for 2020.

The intriguing part of this is that it brings into question Jose Abreu's future with the White Sox. There have been rumors about the Cuban first baseman potentially being involved in a trade this winter. Alonso's addition means something has to give with the first base/DH situation. After non-tendering Matt Davidson because he fell behind Abreu and Daniel Palka as players who only fit those two spots, adding another in Alonso wouldn't make sense unless Abreu or Palka are on the move.

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White Sox reportedly will meet with Manny Machado next week

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly will meet with Manny Machado next week

The Winter Meetings didn't bring a resolution to either the Bryce Harper or Manny Machado free agency sagas.

That means we're still waiting on any bit of news to figure out what is going on. The latest, from 670 The Score's Bruce Levine, is that the White Sox plan to meet with Machado next week.

According to Levine, Machado will meet with at least six teams next week. Previously, it was reported that Machado had interest from the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox and three mystery teams. For now, it appears those mysters teams are still just that.

When the White Sox made their pitch to Harper, Jim Thome was reportedly involved. Will they go to the well with Thome again or have a different pitch for Machado? 

Positionally, Machado could be more of a need for the White Sox, but that all depends on how the White Sox would shift bodies on the infield around if Machado joins.

 

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