White Sox

White Sox sign face of the franchise Jose Abreu to three-year extension

White Sox sign face of the franchise Jose Abreu to three-year extension

A day after handing out the richest contract in club history to free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal, the White Sox added another multi-year deal to their offseason, this time a three-year extension for Jose Abreu.

Abreu will get $50 million over the next three seasons, which breaks down like this: a $5 million signing bonus, $11 million in 2020, $16 million in 2021 and $18 million in 2022 with $4 million deferred.

Abreu officially rejoined the White Sox at the end of last week, when he ended a brief free-agent stint by accepting the team's qualifying offer, a one-year deal worth $17.8 million. But that now gets wiped away in favor of the new multi-year deal, something that was long expected considering the shared admiration between the White Sox and their first baseman.

Critics might jump at the White Sox inking a player to a three-year contract ahead of his age-32, 33 and 34 seasons, but Abreu's value to the team is overly apparent, both from a production standpoint and from the standpoint of his meaning inside the clubhouse.

Abreu has been a model of consistency since coming over from Cuba ahead of the 2014 season — when he received the previous richest contract in team history, a six-year deal worth $68 million — and he's one of three players ever to start their careers with four consecutive seasons of at least 25 home runs and at least 100 RBIs. A pair of freak injuries ended that streak in 2018, though Abreu still started the All-Star Game and won a Silver Slugger in that "down" season. In 2019, he returned to his normal level of production, leading the American League with 123 RBIs, coming three homers short of matching his career high and finishing with an OPS that ranked in the top 30 in the AL.

Abreu, though, is worth so much more than that as an off-the-field contributor, an example for the team's younger players with a model work ethic. He's taken rebuilding cornerstones like Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez under his wing, and Luis Robert is expected to join Abreu's corner of the clubhouse next season, too.

“From the moment he stepped into the major leagues, Jose Abreu has been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse,” general manager Rick Hahn said in the announcement. “He has consistently delivered run production at a historic pace, and with each passing season, his leadership role within our clubhouse — with both American-born and Latin-American players — has repeatedly grown.

“Jose is proud to be a member of the White Sox, and we certainly are pleased to have him returning to our clubhouse as our team takes the next important steps in its development.”

The White Sox hold Abreu in the highest esteem. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf presented Abreu with a special ring after Abreu hit for the cycle in 2017. Abreu revealed during the 2019 season that Reinsdorf promised he'd never wear another uniform. This deal goes a long way toward making that a reality.

Abreu's shared similar, louder feelings about the White Sox, spending much of the 2019 campaign leading up to his free agency talking about how badly he wanted to remain a part of the team. He has been as giddy a promoter of the White Sox bright future as anyone and an enthusiastic backer of the team's young core. Though he's got more than a couple years on those guys, he's now a part of that core for the long haul, too.

“I have to give a special thank you to Jerry Reinsdorf and all the people involved with the White Sox who made this possible. This is a dream come true for me and my family,” Abreu said in the announcement. “To the fans, I told you I would come back. I never doubted it. Everybody knows the group of talented players that we have, and I want to help guide them and together make the Chicago White Sox a championship team.”

The White Sox have now handed out two contracts in two days worth a combined $123 million over a combined seven years. That ought to do the job when it comes to dispelling the notion that the team is either unable or unwilling to spend big on impact players.

And Abreu gets his wish of being a member of this organization for the foreseeable future. Who knows if he'll be ready to hang things up after this new contract comes to an end, but whenever he decides to retire, it will swiftly be followed with his No. 79 being metaphorically sent to the rafters (it's an outdoor stadium) at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?


White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

The crew wraps up the final day of the Winter Meetings for the White Sox.

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber and Ryan McGuffey talk about a rumored deal between the White Sox and the Red Sox (2:41) that would move some pieces around.

Rick Hahn speaks for the final time in San Diego and the guys react to his comments.

Later, they debate why fans are disappointed with the White Sox and the outcome for the team at the end of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast


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White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?


White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

SAN DIEGO — David Price on the South Side? Maybe.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Boston Red Sox have had trade conversations involving Price with at least five teams, and the White Sox are “in play” for the veteran left-hander.

Boston is trying to shed salary, and getting rid of the $96 million remaining on Price’s deal over the next three years would be a good way to accomplish that goal.

The White Sox, given their financial flexibility, are a team that could absorb that kind of money in a trade. While much discussion of Rick Hahn’s statement in February that “the money will be spent” has focused on high-priced free agents, the general manager said Wednesday that such fiscal positioning could be beneficial on the trade market, too.

“Absolutely,” he said during his final media session of the Winter Meetings. “You’ve seen over the years us use our financial flexibility to acquire some contracts. I think back to the (Joakim) Soria trade with the Dodgers. The thing we brought to the table there was the ability to absorb some contracts. That flexibility doesn’t always have to be spent on free agents.”

But here’s the thing. ESPN’s Jeff Passan got this whole Price conversation going when he reported the interest of multiple teams on Tuesday, and he suggested the Red Sox might be able to ship Price out of town if they included a “player of value.” A young player with affordable club control would sweeten any such deal, and speculation latched onto outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who is under team control for three more years.

That’s the kind of deal — before we hear what it could cost, obviously — that would look like a good one for the White Sox.

Well, another nugget in Feinsand’s report throws that idea out the window.

“One scenario that has been floated in recent weeks would have the Red Sox attaching a young player — Andrew Benintendi's name has been mentioned often — to Price in order to dump the pitcher's contract.

“A source said that concept has not been considered by Boston's front office — nor will it be, especially not with Benintendi.

“‘That's not going to happen,’ the source said.”

If that’s the case, if the Red Sox are talking about a Price trade that doesn’t involve a young, controllable player coming back, is there any reason for the White Sox to consider such a move? Is there any reason to trade for Price alone?

The White Sox do need pitching, quite badly, as a matter of fact. Their quest for two arms to add to the starting rotation has yielded no additions yet, with their high bid for Zack Wheeler spurned in favor of a lower offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. Price would be an upgrade to the White Sox rotation, and they could potentially get him without having to give up any of their prized prospects (a trade involving someone like Benintendi might cost a high-level prospect, in addition to salary relief).

After turning in some memorable performances during the Red Sox championship run in 2018, Price got off to a great start in 2019, with a 3.16 ERA in his first 17 starts. But due to a cyst in his wrist, he made only two starts over the season’s final two months. He finished with a 4.28 ERA, second highest of his career.

Considering the White Sox are heading into 2020 with just three rotation spots spoken for, they could do a lot worse than Price from a production standpoint. But the veteran lefty doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation as a clubhouse presence. NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase listed several red flags in a recent piece: “He's no longer a 200-inning pitcher. His elbow could blow. He considers himself a great teammate, but he consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse, which multiple rival executives have noted warily. He's too expensive. He hasn't made an All-Star team or earned a Cy Young vote since 2015. He's past his prime.”

Do the White Sox need those headaches? Aren’t there options out there, via trade or free agency, that would bring in similar levels of production without all that other stuff? It doesn’t seem like a young team that is developing what appears to be a very positive culture needs someone who “consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse.”

Now, if someone like Benintendi — or, for example, the large contract of designated hitter J.D. Martinez — comes along with him, maybe it’s a pill you’re willing to swallow. Of course, that would require other unpleasant possibilities, such as letting a recent first-round draft pick like Nick Madrigal or Andrew Vaughn go. Hahn talked about the team’s unwillingness to deal away its prized prospects for a short-term gain. The White Sox lost a combined 195 games to end up with the draft picks that produced Madrigal and Vaughn. That was an awful lot of suffering just to trade those guys away.

A potential Price trade has its upsides, but ones contingent on other aspects of such a deal. If those aspects go by the wayside, acquiring Price doesn’t make quite as much sense.

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