On paper, it seemed to make sense: A 31-year-old Jose Abreu was coming off a massively productive season and has two more years left of team control, meaning he isn’t guaranteed to be around when the White Sox expect this rebuilding process to produce a playoff contender. So why not trade him? Back in November, that was rumored to be a possibility. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the White Sox were in “active” talks with the Boston Red Sox, who were one of the four finalists to sign Abreu as a free agent back in 2014. The thought of adding another elite prospect to the team’s bursting-at-the-seams farm system was tantalizing, wasn't it? It also was never a realistic possibility. “There was clearly speculation that he conceivably could have been moved this offseason,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Part of the reason that he wasn’t is that we do put a large value on what he does in the clubhouse, how he represents himself and the organization, what he does for our young players — the way he goes about his business is the epitome of a White Sox player. That probably leads to us valuing him a little more highly than other organizations who haven’t had the pleasure of having him, which makes it that much more difficult to line up on finding value on a trade.” Abreu’s on-field production speaks for itself. He slugged 33 home runs last year with a .906 OPS and has had a triple-digit RBI total every year of his career. He has the 13th-most home runs since 2014 (124) and has the 13th-highest slugging percentage (.524) in the same timespan, putting him just outside being one baseball’s elite sluggers — which is still a pretty good place to be. But the real reason why the White Sox didn’t trade him is what Hahn touched on in his quote above. Abreu has blossomed in his four-year career into a pillar of the White Sox clubhouse, someone who’s taken hotshot prospect Yoan Moncada under his wing and leads by example on a team that’s shipped plenty of its veterans away over the last 15 months.
Why the White Sox didn't trade Jose Abreu this offseason
NBC Sports Chicago | Jan 29