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.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.