There is no question that José Abreu is a solid first baseman for the Chicago White Sox. Even during his age 35-season, he still put up unreal numbers with the bat and can flash the leather every now and then. Abreu is given a lot of credit in the organization.
He should be awarded that credit given that he carried the Chicago White Sox on his back through the dog days of summer as he always does. The way Abreu plays the game is the way baseball should be played. Who wouldn’t want that guy on their team?
As Abreu gets older, more and more fans talk about his production and notice the decline he might be on. They talk about putting the younger player like Andrew Vaughn in his spot since he is putting up similar numbers right now and he should be the starting first baseman moving forward.
The fact is that Abreu has always had rollercoaster offensive seasons. He has his downs but his ups always begin when the team needs it the most.
He will have some 0-4 games and occasionally boot the ball but in a couple of weeks from there, he’ll put up his usual MVP numbers carrying the team just long enough for a couple more players to get hot.
The Chicago White Sox needs to consider bringing Jose Abreu back in 2022.
Time and time again, Abreu has not only proved himself on the field but off as well. He is the leader of the clubhouse. He is a player that everyone on the team looks up to and respects.
Without him, players like Yasmani Grandal, Luis Robert, Oscar Colás, and many others may not be in this organization. With the respect that he gets from the players, coaches, and fans, he has more than earned to wear the black pinstripes until he decides to hang up the cleats.
There is keeping a player because of what they mean to the clubhouse and there is keeping a player for the sake of keeping him. Jerry Reinsdorf has in the past relied on loyalty more than production but Abreu is slashing .308/.383/.451 at age 35.
He has 35 doubles, an OPS of .834, and he’s leading the American League in hits with 172. Not only is it unwise to not resign the heart and soul of an organization but it’s even worse not to resign the hits leader with a 4.0 WAR, especially when that player has publicly stated he does not want to play anywhere else.
Regarding his age, there will always be concerns in any multi-year contract. However, signing one-year deals and having to prove himself even though he’ll most likely get his number 79 retired when it’s all said and done seems untrustworthy and probably annoying. Abreu has always delivered for this team.
Going into this offseason, the first order of business needs to be re-signing Abreu to a 2-3 year deal. His contract length will symbolically represent how long this front office believes the window of contention will be open with their captain at first base.
Whether they mean to or not, it could also show how much faith the front office has in the current core and their ability to win a World Series. A short contract could damage morale, not resigning him could crush it entirely.
Resigning him for only one year shows little to no confidence and would negatively impact the morale and comradery this team has been building since 2017. Not resigning him throws all that away and could potentially cause a riot down the I-94.
Ownership has history leaning towards damaging that comradery. The firing of manager Ricky Renteria despite leading the White Sox to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years is an example. He was the rebuild manager and developed a strong relationship with the core players.
He may not have been the best manager but to give up on him so quickly damaged morale and showed the front office was out of touch with their team.
The 2022 White Sox‘s most significant hardship was the lack of enthusiasm and morale in the dugout and clubhouse. Not resigning Abreu would make that pan over to the dugout even sadder and what has been building for the past five years would be wasted.