The Chicago White Sox aren’t more hurt than any other MLB team with a delayed season this year, but one contract might look worse for the organization.
While there were multiple reasons worthy of bringing him back such as his American League-leading 123 RBI and leadership, re-signing the right-handed slugger was questionable from the beginning.
Having top prospect Andrew Vaughn (ranked 16th in baseball by MLB Pipeline) in the system certainly made Abreu’s future murky in addition to Yasmani Grandal‘s possible need to play first base on occasion this season and going forward.
Now, though, the added wrinkle of a shortened first season of his contract is in play as another factor.
Many multi-year contracts, especially those handed out to 33-year-old’s that are past their prime, are signed with the expectation that the latter part of the deal could work out poorly.
However, the earlier portion of the deal is expected to be the portion that the player succeeds in.
With a shortened season, at best, coming MLB’s way in 2020, though, that means that the first year of his contract will potentially not be as valuable given there will be significantly fewer games.
Now, if the season were to resume in May or June as part of a potential proposal being talked about by the league as detailed by Jeff Passan of ESPN, the first season of Abreu’s contract would not be completely wasted given they could possibly get in as many as 120 games this year.
If that number dwindles, though, it will continue to decrease the value of the deal exponentially.
Working on Abreu’s side will be the fact that Vaughn will be losing just as much time as him, meaning his development will be on pause and that won’t change the discussion of the former being replaced at all.
It could, unfortunately, put the Chicago White Sox in a position to replace Abreu during a worse season of his, which would make the decision to let a phenom take over much easier.
Abreu will likely spend all three seasons in the South Side, if not for any reason other than his contract is likely not very attractive to other clubs.
But, the value of the deal the Chicago White Sox signed him to will decrease in value with each game chipped off the schedule in the first year of his new contract.