Minnie Minoso, Minnie Minoso,

Jose Abreu’s press conference notes


This room got used again. // Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Welcomed in by a greeting party of Minnie Minoso, Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza, Jose Abreu strode into the U.S. Cellular Field conference room donning a shimmering suit that suggests he was a big Puff Daddy fan growing up*, towered over the dais and lingered for a moment in his enormous No. 79 jersey while the press gawked at him and snapped photos before getting started on a fairly flawless press conference, all things considered.

First of all, the announcement of the signing means that the terms were actually released. It’s backloaded, but also frontloaded at the same time!

Abreu received an immediate $10 million signing bonus, then things play out like so:

2014: $7 million

2015: $7 million

2016: $10 million

2017: $10.5 million

2018: $11.5 million

2019: $12 million

Rick Hahn spoke confidently about Abreu’s skill set, asserting that he’s not just a power bat, but a professional hitter with a “clean and low maintenance approach” who fits both the short-term and long-term goals of the franchise while not taking away a draft pick for compensation. Hahn referenced the Davenport translations that projected Abreu as an immediate top-10 hitter in the sport as being particularly encouraging. He also acknowledged that the Sox are more than “one player away” and that more “bold moves” are coming. Then he quipped that he could get back to work on that once the press conference ended.

Abreu, for his part, echoed Hahn’s sentiments about his approach and did everything to depict himself as a quiet guy who likes spending time with family and crushing baseballs for a living. He claimed to have little interest in Chicago’s night life, admitted himself to not be very outgoing, and came off as very humble in identifying his chance to compete in the World Baseball Classic as his moment of realization that he could compete at the major league level. Even the potentially bizarre things about Abreu (his No. 79 jersey, the first time anyone in the franchise will wear that, was picked out by his mother) and his defection from Cuba (he declined to discuss) faded away quickly into non-stories.

Abreu also validated speculation and irrational confidence about the next Cuban free agent that becomes available by saying that Viciedo and Ramirez’s presence allowed him to feel more comfortable in accepting the White Sox’s leading offer.

The Paul Konerko question was raised, and Hahn responded by pointing out the absurdity of having the roster squared away already, before insisting that the Abreu signing does not preclude the Sox from bringing back Konerko, but also claiming that Konerko was informed of their pursuit, which seems to run against his claims of confusion on Monday.

The South Side Sox guys did yeoman work live-tweeting this press conference, so don’t get the impression it was all the beat guys from the embeds I use for these extra tidbits:

If nothing else, this is the only player for whom Kenny Williams has used this kind of rhetoric.

This is interesting, because if Abreu produces at All-Star levels right off the bat, opting out offers the opportunity for him to get closer to market value compensation. It reduces the White Sox opportunity to make out like bandits.

So if the White Sox are crazy about Abreu, other teams were crazy too.

*This is a joke, I would never just slur a man like this without provocation.

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan