Thursday, November 30, 2017

Will Abreu remain in Chi beyond ’17?

The Chicago White Sox openly talk about how they’re scraping their whole ball club as part of a rebuild – a do-over of sorts that they hope could result in championship-quality teams by 2020.

Could Abreu lead White Sox rebuild?
But there’s a certain sense that the rebuild actually began in 2014 when Cuban star slugger Jose Abreu signed on with the team.

DURING THE PAST four seasons, Abreu has been one of the few attractions worth seeing at Guaranteed Rate Field. Typically, it would make sense that because of his worthwhile statistics (which include a batting average of .301, 124 home runs and 410 runs batted in, and a .359 on base percentage), he’d be trade bait.

For as the legendary baseball executive Branch Rickey once said of his star slugger Ralph Kiner with some lousy Pittsburgh Pirates teams, “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you.”

No ballplayer is ever untouchable. Not even for the White Sox, who last winter traded away their top pitcher, Chris Sale, to the Boston Red Sox.

So it shouldn’t be surprising to learn of the reports that several ball clubs have contacted the White Sox to express interest in acquiring Abreu and his big bat. Even the Red Sox.

WHO EVEN THOUGH they won their division title last year fell short in the playoffs, in part because first base is a weak position for them. Acquiring Jose would be a significant move in their ongoing battle to try to become superior to the New York Yankees (they’re not, but that’s a story for a different day).
Moncada looks to Abreu for leadership

So are the rumor mills onto something? Are the White Sox about to trade away their best ballplayer? For what it’s worth, the SB Nation website grades this particular rumor an “A.”

Yet I can’t help but think that if the White Sox truly are on the verge of making this move, it will be the action that turns out short-sighted. And not just because most of the people who are all excited about such a move are the ones who are interested in how it would help Boston – and don’t seem to care what happens in Chicago.

I wonder how the people who do have an interest in a Chicago White Sox rebuild appreciate how significant the Cuban angle is in all of this. We literally have the potential to have our own Cuban core dominating Sout’ Side baseball.
As likely will Robert

WHAT WITH THE young talent of Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert coming to Chicago. Moncada has already arrived and has shown some signs of the potential star he could become, while Robert is firmly in the White Sox minor league system.

Both were acquired in deals (Moncada was the prize Boston gave up in order to pry Sale loose from Chicago) during 2017. Both were Cuban ballplayers, and both were excited to come to Chicago largely because they knew Abreu when all three were still playing on the Caribbean island.

It certainly was more significant to them that Abreu was here, rather than the fact that Minnie Miñoso played in Chicago a half century ago.

I don’t think you can over-exaggerate the significance of the mentor role that Abreu would play in a rebuilt White Sox ball club. It could literally be the three Cuban stars (playing at first and second base, along with center field) who could be the key to that future championship ball club that White Sox fans are eagerly dreaming of.
Minoso the Cuban past

AND YES, I’M a firm believer in intangibles (unlike those who can’t look past statistics) in determining a ballplayer’s worth to his team.

Some might say that Abreu could bring in a whole slew of talent. However, I doubt that Boston (or any other ball club) would be willing to give up that much in exchange for one slugger – no matter how many dents he could add to the famed left field wall at Boston’s Fenway Park.

Encouraging that Cuban core could be the key to a rebuild that actually works, as opposed to one that merely produces second place teams – rather than the fourth place ball club the White Sox had this year.
Is the pair attending a hockey game in Las Vegas really as interesting as would-be Cuban beisbol revolution?

And it would certainly be more interesting than the dreams of Chicago Cubs fans these days – the ones that say Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper is eager to come to the North Side team to pair up with old high school friend Kris Bryant. Just so they could lose someday to a White Sox-style Cuban beisbol revolution.


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