White Sox getting valuable leadership from veteran slugging first baseman, will need his presence throughout rebuild.
Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has been a constant producer for the team since his rookie season in 2014. The Cuban born player has recorded 100 RBIs in each of his three MLB season, and could very well do it again in 2017.
However, Abreu’s value for the Sox is larger than just hitting home runs or getting RBIs. Abreu has become a much-needed leader for a team going through a rebuilding phase. Abreu is currently hitting .301/.355/.537 with 26 home runs and 80 RBIs. Although these are impressive numbers, Abreu’s biggest contribution this year possibly didn’t happen at the plate.
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On Aug. 19 in a contest against the Texas Rangers, starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez received attention on the mound from manager Rick Renteria and Sox trainer Herm Schneider. Renteria was concerned with Lopez’s right shoulder and elbow. After Lopez assured both Renteria and Schneider that he was okay, the two would quickly returned to the mound on the advice of Abreu.
Abreu realized something was wrong with Lopez, and wouldn’t let the young pitcher put his future health in jeopardy. It would turn out that he was right as Lopez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained back. Abreu would later tell reporters that after speaking with Lopez and asking him if he was sure he was okay, the team’s sixth ranked prospect then told him his side was indeed sore according to Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.
"“Maybe he is expressing it a little bit more, being more open with his teammates. [He was] able to talk to his teammate right in that moment, and say, ‘Hey, listen, you might want to say something, because … you don’t want to get hurt.’” Rick Renteria."
With Abreu taking on more of a leadership role for the Sox, he’s increased his value for the franchise and could serve as a mentor for the younger players. The Sox have a wealth of talented young players with most of them speaking Spanish. Abreu will most likely be able to help those players make the tough transition to the majors.
When Yoan Moncada, the Sox no. 1 prospect was promoted to the team, Abreu served as his personal Uber when he arrived in Chicago. Abreu also was part of a video pitch to then international free agent Luis Robert, who would later sign with the Sox.
Abreu is currently one of the longest tenured players on the Sox, and at 30 he still has a lot of playing time ahead of him. Although the Sox traded nearly every veteran player with value this season, they’ve done a smart job in keeping Abreu. The Sox will need Abreu as a leader during this rebuild, and they will certainly like if he’s able to lead the next great team to the postseason on the South Side.