Jose Abreu Does Not Care About Leverage
Jose Abreu needs help.
It becomes more apparent with every passing day that he has no idea of the concept of leverage, nor how to use it. Abreu will be a free agent this winter. He's going to turn 33 in January, and has already seen his skills begin to diminish. Yes, he's hit 21 home runs and driven in 66 during the first half of the season, but he also has an OBP of .316. In fact, since the beginning of the 2018 season, Abreu's OBP is at .322. During his first four seasons in a White Sox uniform, his OBP was .359.
He also plays a position that has become baseball's version of the running back in football. It's a position that was long held to be one of the most valuable positions on the field. Now it's become a position for those with no other choice.
Can't play left? Put him at first. Can't play third? Put him at first. Can't play first? Well, I hope you hit well enough to DH.
These are all reasons why Abreu's market this winter could be cool, and that was before baseball wrote another unwritten rule that states anybody over 30 can't get anything but a minor league invite somewhere.
Maybe that's why Abreu seems so desperate to make it clear that he wants to remain with the White Sox.
Here's what he said on Monday.
Jose Abreu: “I think my desire to stay with this team is getting bigger every day, after every game. We are good, and we’re going to be very, very good. For me, there’s no secret. I want to be here.”— Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) July 8, 2019
And here's what he said on Tuesday.
Abreu's daily declaration that he wants to stay with Sox: “We’re going to be very good. If the White Sox don’t sign me, I’m going to sign here anyway. I’m going to sign myself here. I’m going to be here, believe me. I don’t want to miss this. I don’t want to miss what is coming.”— Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) July 9, 2019
Now, none of this is new. Abreu's never been one to make a secret of his desire to remain in Chicago, and as far as the White Sox are concerned, there isn't a team he has more value to than the one he's on. You hear about clubhouse leadership, and while some may be prone to roll their eyes at such talk, it has proven to be valuable with young teams making their way out of a rebuild and into contention.
The Astros had Carlos Beltran, and the Cubs had David Ross. It's possible that Jose Abreu could be that player for this White Sox team. Abreu could be the guy that buys the young phenom a tablet not just as a gift, but as a subtle message that you can't just work when you're supposed to. You need to work on your own too.
Those are the things Rick Hahn and the White Sox front office is talking about when it comes to Abreu's value in the clubhouse. But that value has a limit, and it's one Hahn is acutely aware of.
"That's the more, unfortunately, clinical side of things is, 'OK, a right-handed hitting first baseman who's produced at this level over the last few years at this age, what do you project going forward and what's the value of that?'" Hahn told some asshole. "It's sort of that more touchy-feely, emotional side of things in terms of knowing the value that he has in this clubhouse and the leadership skills, the softer benefits that he brings to the club, that affects your valuation of a guy like that."
The other thing that affects a team's valuation of a guy is his signability, and man do the White Sox know they can have Abreu for a song at this point. I think it's pretty clear that Jose Abreu will be back with the White Sox in 2020. I don't know how long of a deal it will be, but I am quite confident it will be a team-friendly, and that's not the worst thing.
Jose Abreu didn't come from much. He risked life and limb to get from Cuba to Chicago, and he has made over $68 million for his troubles. That's likely more money than he's ever imagined having, so there's a good chance the size of the deal won't matter to him.
Being in Chicago makes Jose happy, and being with this team when (if) it makes its ascension would please him to no end. Perhaps his valuation of that experience is worth more than a few extra million dollars.
But if it's not, maybe stop talking about your free agency, Jose.