White Sox

White Sox avoid arbitration with four players, including Jose Abreu and Carlos Rodon

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USA TODAY

White Sox avoid arbitration with four players, including Jose Abreu and Carlos Rodon

The White Sox avoided arbitration with four players, the team announced Friday night.

Agreeing to one-year deals with the South Siders were Jose Abreu, Carlos Rodon, Leury Garcia and the newly acquired Luis Avilan.

Abreu's $13 million salary for the upcoming 2018 campaign was reported earlier Friday. Rodon agreed to a $2.3 million deal, Garcia to a $1.175 million deal and Avilan to a $2.45 million deal.

Abreu was terrific last season, joining Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols as the only players ever to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 RBIs in each of their first four big league seasons. Mentioned in trade speculation throughout the offseason, Abreu is highly valued by the White Sox not only for his production at the plate but also for his clubhouse presence, leadership abilities and mentorship role toward fellow Cubans Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert.

Rodon spent much of last season on the disabled list, not making his first start until the end of June. He was injured again in September and had shoulder surgery. His recovery could again knock him out for a good chunk of the campaign in 2018, but the young pitcher is obviously part of the White Sox long-term plans.

Garcia figures to be the White Sox first option in center field after he slashed .270/.316/.423 last season. His campaign was also limited by injury, though, as he appeared in just 87 games.

Avilan was acquired earlier this month in a three-team trade that strengthened the White Sox bullpen and perhaps added a couple potential midseason trade chips. Avilan was very good last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, posting a 2.93 ERA in 46 innings of work.

Two players, Avisail Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez, remain unsigned.

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.”