Jose Abreu will stay with the White Sox rather than test the free agent market, as’s Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link) that the first baseman has accepted the team’s one-year, $17.8MM qualifying offer. The team has since announced that Abreu is indeed returning after accepting the QO.

Abreu stood out as the likeliest player to accept a qualifying offer given his age (33 in January), lack of defensive value and longstanding vocal desire to remain with the White Sox. The market for strict first base/DH type sluggers has deteriorated in recent years, and while some elite hitters (e.g. J.D. Martinez) have managed to take home lucrative multi-year deals in spite of that reality, Abreu is on the old side for a free agent and isn’t quite in that Martinez echelon of offensive output. There’s also a fairly limited number of contending clubs that could be reasonably expected to make competitive bids on a first baseman or designated hitter, which wouldn’t have done the veteran slugger any favors in seeking out a new organization.

That’s not to say that Abreu isn’t a decidedly above-average hitter. He’s fresh off a strong .284/.330/.503 batting line and 33 home runs in 2019. The ChiSox likely feel they can pencil him in for another strong average and 25-plus home runs, as he’s only failed to reach that mark in an injury-shortened 2018 campaign (when he still launched 22 long balls in just 128 games). Abreu has spent six seasons in the big leagues and been an above-average hitter in each of them.