White Sox: How Will Jose Abreu Help The Rebuild?
By Brian Draus
White Sox veteran first baseman was important for the team’s younger players last season. How can he continue helping the team’s current rebuild?
As strange as this may sound, Jose Abreu is now the elder statesman among the Chicago White Sox position players. For a person who was not even playing in the United States before 2014, that may seem odd to hear. However, due to the current rebuild, he will now play a major role in developing some of the younger players. What are Abreu’s most crucial roles in doing so? Let’s take a look.
Before we go any further, take a quick look at some of the best young position players and prospects the Sox have. Yoan Moncada, Avisail Garcia, along with Eloy Jimenez are all of Latin descent, which Abreu also is. That means he can aid their progress by communicating with them, while some American born players may not be able to.
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Let’s talk a bit more about this aspect of Abreu’s game. Given he may struggle in leading the American players due to a language barrier, Abreu will thrive when it comes to teaching the Latin youngsters how to become professionals due to his cultural knowledge. Garcia already knows a lot about the MLB game, but when Jimenez is called up it should help him to have a role model to look up to.
Now that we have gone over leadership, it makes sense to discuss his play on the field. While he is a well below average first baseman, Abreu is one of the better all-around hitters in the game, meaning when he goes to the plate all the youngsters will get to see a professional at-bat. This helps them grow as you can lead all day, but a veterans’ actions actually help inexperienced players see what it takes to win. On top of that, Abreu is an extremely hard worker, which will teach lessons all on to themselves.
Before this article concludes, it must be stated that Abreu may also have to decide if he wants to stay in Chicago once the Sox become a winning team. That would mean signing an extension of some kind, due to the fact that his current deal expires after the 2019 season. If this occurs, Abreu will get the opportunity to play alongside the youngsters he mentored, not to mention watch some of them grow into elite players themselves.
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All in all, Abreu may very well be the key to the Sox future. On one hand, he would be a mentor to many of the youngsters the Sox are calling up to the big leagues. Meanwhile, in the case that Rick Hahn decides to move him, there is a chance that he brings back a quality prospect or two, aiding the youth movement in a different way. Regardless, Abreu should be a very good asset for the Sox over these next two years. Or at least we hope, Sox fans.