Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What should we think of rebuild; does All Star Abreu have future in Chicago?

Chicago White Sox fans are likely to get the highlight of 2018 come next week in Washington, D.C., when first baseman Jose Abreu starts for the American League in the baseball All Star game scheduled for next Tuesday.
Could Jose become a White Sox immortal someday?
Abreu, it seems, got so many fan votes that he is the top player at first base for the league. Which is an accomplishment, since first base is usually a position so overloaded with top hitters that many a talented ballplayer throughout the years has been crowded out of the All Star game because that was their position.

SO IT WOULD have been understandable if the best ballplayer the White Sox employ these days would not have made it onto the league’s All Star team.

But he did. White Sox fans will be able to enjoy that bit of glory that at least one of the players on their dreadfully mediocre team of 2018 is worth having around. He’ll be the bragging rights that Sout’ Side-oriented fans will be able to chat about next week.

And it could wind up being the bit of a boost for the White Sox, who are trying to justify their lack of concern over the 30-win, 60-loss (as of Monday) team the White Sox are putting forth this year.

We’re supposed to be in a rebuilding mode, which means the potential for young talent that will someday surround the veteran Abreu with equal talent – to the point where in just a couple of years, it will seem odd that the White Sox could ever have delved to the lows that we’ve seen last year and this.

Payton played for weak Bears teams before '86
THEN AGAIN, CONSIDER that things can change quickly in baseball.

It was just three years ago that the Kansas City Royals were a World Series-winning ball club. Now, they’re a team with only 25 wins this year – and the reason the White Sox can claim to not even be the worst ball club in their American League division; let alone all of baseball.

Of course, there are some people out there who are convinced that what the White Sox ought to be doing with their best current (and one of their best ever) ball players is – repeat after me – “TRADE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Could Abreu top Minnie for top Cuban Sox
The theory being that some other team wishing to have Jose’s big bat (12 home runs and 59 runs batted in, as of this week) to help them win THIS YEAR might be capable of giving up some young “kid” who might be capable of being a star come 2020 or 2021.

WHICH, THE WHITE Sox marketing people will claim, is the time about when it might be possible to expect the ball club to “not suck” quite so bad as they do now.

Abreu being the ballplayer who’s already 31 years old (meaning he’s on the tail end of his physical prime as a ballplayer), and it might be helpful long-term to let go of him now, rather than thinking he’d still be of use at ages 33 and 34 (which is what he’d be if still a part of the White Sox) in ’20 and ’21.

Of course, if the Chicago Bears had followed the same line of logic, they would have let their immortal star Walter Payton leave just before that Super Bowl-winning year of 1986 and those contending teams of the late 1980s.

We’d probably have Bears fans now ranting about how the team gave up on “Sweetness” and didn’t include him in the chance for athletic glory at the team’s peak.

SO IS THIS just a matter of sports fans who can feel malcontent regardless of what their favorite team actually does?
Is the "L" flag destined to return to Wrigley?
Keep Abreu, and they’re being shortsighted. Get rid of him, and the White Sox will regret it if he and his big bat are the missing piece of a contending team the White Sox hope/wish/dream they’ll have around 2021.

Because personally, I could see how that future White Sox contending team could be one built around Abreu – who will wind up being the leader of a core of Cuban and other Latino ballplayers who play in the mold of past White Sox stars like Minnie Miñoso and Luis Aparicio.

Besides, it could also be that many of the people who want Abreu dealt away from Chicago are nothing more than Cubs fans realizing that 2016 is history, their own “winning” ways aren’t forever and it’s just a matter of time before the “L” flag becomes the symbol flown atop the Wrigley Field scoreboard on a regular basis.


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