Baseball

VS.

 

Records: Rangers 8-9 / White Sox 9-9

First Pitch: Fri 7:10 / Sat 6:10 / Sun 1:10

TV & Radio: NBCSN & ESPN 1000

We Need Another New Stadium: Lone Star Ball

 

Probable Starters

Friday: Dane Dunning (1-0 0.60 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (0-0 3.86 ERA)

Saturday: Kyle Gibson (2-0 2.53 ERA) vs. Lucas Giolito (1-1 5.79 ERA)

Sunday: Kohei Arihara (2-1 2.21 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-0 5.68 ERA)

 

OLD FREIND ALERT

Take the above probable starters above with a grain of salt, because as of me writing this Tony LaRussa has not yet tipped his hand as to how he’s planning on setting his rotation this weekend. Having the rainout on Wednesday giving his guys an extra day of much needed rest, he’s pretty much able to start whoever he’d like short of Carlos Rodon tonight. If he sticks to the order that he’s had thus far in the season, tonight’s matchup may cause Sox Twitter to implode like no other.

The return to the Down Arrow of our Bespectacled Buddy Dane Dunning facing off against Dylan Cease in a battle of Who Should Hahn Really Have Traded For Lance Lynn (who’s fucking hurt now anyways) will be polarizing to say the least. Dunning has gotten off to an outstanding start, giving up a measly 1 earned run in 15 innings pitched, to go along with 15 strikeouts and a crisp 1.06 WHIP. His counterpart has pretty much picked up where he left off last season, giving up 6 runs in the same amount of innings thrown but with a much uglier 1.71 WHIP. Cease has continued his inability to go deep into games, throwing far too many pitches and not putting hitters away when he has count leverage.

Dunning on the other hand has been pretty masterful thus far for a surprisingly competent Rangers squad. His huge arsenal of pitches he throws helps him keep hitters off kilter, never knowing what the next pitch is going to be. He’s able to keep the ball on the ground (which in his new home park is an absolute must) and work quickly in the vein of Mark Buehrle. The Rangers have come out and said that Dunning is on an innings limit this season, so the deepest he’s gone into a game so far is the 6th (which is still further than Cease, who is NOT on any such restriction).

The rest of the Rangers rotation has been above average thus far, which is somewhat of a surprise because on paper it’s probably one of the worst in the AL. Twins castoff Kyle Gibson has rebounded from the rough stretch in 2019-20 where he gave up dingers like they were going out of style. His 5.21 ERA in 2020 was one of the worst in the AL, and it’s obviously not what the Rangers were hoping for when they signed him to a 3 year deal worth roughly 10 million per. This season he’s gotten back to what made him successful in 2018 by throwing his 4 seamer much more (roughly 56% of the time, up from around 48%) and he’s added a cutter that he uses to run in on the hands of lefties.

Kohei Arihara takes the bump on Sunday, and so far he’s been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers. Signed from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (god I love Japanese team names) just after Christmas this past December, Arihara is a Swiss Army Knife of a pitcher. According to Statcast, he threw SEVEN different types of pitches against the Angels in his last start. He tossed a 4 seamer, a slider, a curve, a cutter, a change, a splitter, and for the first time all year he threw a knuckleball. There’s also a pitch that he’s thrown more than once that Statcast has been unable to identify. So tack on some kind of UFO pitch to his arsenal. Arihara was the NPB equivalent of the Cy Young winner in 2019, going 15-6 with a 2.48 ERA. He signed a 2 year deal with the Rangers this off-season and so far has made it seem like a solid investment.

Offensively the Rangers are pretty short handed, 3rd from the bottom in total production league-wide. After the imposing figure of Joey Gallo, there’s pretty much just Nate Lowe (who was blocked at every position in Tampa, so they flipped him for some other prospects they’ll turn into gold) and Nick Solak who leads the team with a .279 average. The group as a whole doesn’t do anything special, and is pretty much waiting for the sample size to catch up to them. That doesn’t mean they can’t jump on an unprepared pitching staff, as the Angels just found out this past week. This is a boom or bust offense, as in their 8 wins, they’ve averaged a total of 6.2 runs per. In the 9 losses they average a mere 2.7 runs per game, and that includes one to the Royals where they scored 10. If an opposing team can keep them off the board they’re gonna have some success.

As for the Sox, after grinding out a win against Cleveland on Tuesday and enjoying another snow-out on Wednesday they finally managed to sweep a team and end a series on a positive note. The offense definitely showed signs of life after banging out 11 hits and 8 runs against the Spawn Of Dan Plesac. That’s twice now this season the Sox bats have run his ass off the mound, hoping its the start of a trend.

Jose Abreu had 3 hits in that game, two of which left the yard and one of which has yet to land. He absolutely murdered an inside fastball from Plesac in his 2nd at bat of the game that had an exit velocity of 116 MPH and sounded like it cracked the sound barrier. Jose has historically been a slow starter in his career, so his signs of life recently may be the beginning of better things.

Along those same lines is Yasmani Grandal, who also cranked out his second dinger so far. After having a down year at the dish last season, the ability for Grandal to use video this year was supposed to turn things around for him. Based on how well he turned around on the high fastball from Cal Quantril on Tuesday, it may just be working.

As mentioned above, if the Rangers don’t score more than 5 they don’t win the game. It’s going to be up to the starters to keep them off the board, and for the bullpen to live up to the moniker of “best in the Central.” It’ll be interesting to see how Lucas Giolito fares after the wet fart of a start against Boston this past Monday where he gave up 6 runs in the first inning and 7 total. Historically, Lucas has responded to a shitty start by going out the next one and throwing smoke. In starts after he’s given up 5+ runs the outing before he’s averaged 3 or less runs every single time. That’s damn impressive. If he’s able to repeat that stat here, given the Rangers tendencies thus far this season that should be a win for the Sox.

With a 9 game homestand starting tonight and the weather expected to breach the upper 70s next week this is a good setup for the Sox to go on an extended run. Throw in the fact that after the Rangers the Tigers wander into town followed by a Cleveland team the Sox have been much more competitive with this season and you have all the ingredients for a successful stretch of baseball. Tim Anderson and Luis Robert are both hitting above .300 now, and with Grandal and Abreu looking more dialed in now is the time to blow up the standings in the AL Central. Get it done

Let’s Go Sox

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES

White Sox 3 – Angels 4

White Sox 12 – Angels 8

White Sox 3 – Angels 5

White Sox 4 – Angels 7

 

Well that was not the start we all envisioned, was it?

For a team that touts bullpen strength as one of it’s weapons, the White Sox didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory in that department. The Sox very easily could have (and probably should have) walked out of Anaheim with 3 wins, but instead now have 3 losses to start the season. Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall are the two prime suspects here, both blowing leads in the 8th inning in games 1 and 3 respectively. They were aided and abetted by some atrocious defense by the Sox and an inability to capitalize on runners in scoring position. To add insult to (more) injury, Tim Anderson came up lame in the 1st inning, attempting to run out a ground ball in his first at bat Sunday night. He shouldn’t miss too much time, but for a team that’s depth is already paper thin this is asking quite a lot.

TO THE BULLETS:

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

-As mentioned above, Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall had a rough weekend. It was pretty clear from the jump that neither guy had their premium stuff. While Bummer was the victim of a boneheaded throw by Nick Madrigal in the 8th inning in game 1, he still had a chance to get out of the jam and ended up walking Justin Upton to set up the dagger by Pujols. Marshall didn’t fare any better in game 3, He managed to strike out Mike Trout, but then gave up a single to Rendon and a triple to Jared Walsh, then hung a cookie to Justin Upton who deposited it into the left field seats. *Fart Noise*

-All was not terrible with the bullpen, however. Both Michael Kopech and Garret Crochet were fucking nails in their appearances. They each went 2 innings in their respective games, striking out 3 per and keeping the Angels off the board when Keuchel and Lynn couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning. Kopech and Crochet are awesome weapons to have out of the pen, but if Cease and Rodon can’t cut it they may be needed in the rotation before too long.

-Speaking of Dallas Keuchel, I realize that he didn’t have a full spring training to get into game shape, but him constantly missing upstairs with his stuff is concerning to say the least. It begs the question as to whether his numbers last year were the true him or just the benefit of feasting on shitty central division lineups. It certainly bears watching.

-The defense has been absolutely atrocious to start the season. Through the first 4 games the Sox have allowed 7 unearned runs out of the 24 that were scored against them, the ones in the outfield being the most egregious. In game two, Matt Foster came in to get Keuchel out of the jam he created. He got Ohtani and Trout to both strike out, and managed to get Rendon to hit a catchable fly ball out to right. Eaton came running over and just flat out missed the ball. Game 3 featured Luis Robert running in to call off Tim Anderson on a high pop behind 2nd. The fly ball glanced off his mitt, then off his forehead, allowing two runs to score. Eaton then proceeded to use his pool noodle arm to throw the ball off the pitchers mound. All around Benny Hill-level shit.

-For the most part, LaRussa’s first series back in a Sox uniform went pretty well until the 9th inning of game 4. With everything tied up after the Sox clawed their way back to knot the game up at 4, instead of turning to a rested Liam Hendriks in a high leverage situation he opted for Jose Ruiz who allowed the winning run to get on base. He then turned to Matt Foster who served up a 3 run bomb to Jared Walsh. Foster was great in game 2, but situations like this is why the Sox supposedly went out and paid the money they did for Hendriks.

-Dylan Cease picked up where he left off last season, throwing waaaaay too many pitches, very few of which were in the strike zone. He worked out of a few jams, but what the Sox really needed from him was innings. Throwing 52 pitches through the first two isn’t going to give the bullpen any relief, especially since Lynn and Keuchel couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning. I really wanted to believe that him and Ethan Katz had fixed his control issues, but the results thus far are not encouraging.

-Congrats to Yermin Mercedes for living his dream and making history by going 8-8 to start his major league career and being the first of what is hopefully many feel good stories of this MLB season. Love to see the happiness on that guy’s face.

– 1 and 3 is not how any of us pictured the Sox to start the season, and I totally get the frustration but big picture: even with everything that went wrong in this series the Sox still had chances to win every game. They weren’t getting their doors blown off, and the issues (with the exception of Tim Anderson’s hammy) are all correctable. Which leads us to:

 

Series Preview: White Sox at Mariners – Yarrr, I Don’t Know What I’m Doin

 

VS

 

Probable Starters

Game 1: Carlos Rodon (0-2, 8.22 ERA) vs. Justus Sheffield (4-3, 3.58 ERA)

Game 2: Lucas Giolito (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. James Paxton (1-1, 6.64 ERA)

Game 3: Dallas Keuchel (0-0, 6.75 ERA) vs. Justin Dunn (4-1, 4.34 ERA)

 

After the shenanigans in Anaheim concluded, the Sox travel up the coast to the birthplace of Grunge and Starbucks to take on the Mariners. The M’s, fresh off a series win against the Giants, are smack in the middle of what may turn out to be a sped up rebuilding phase. Having completely turned over their roster over the past 3 years, sending everything that wasn’t nailed down to either the Mets or the Yankees, the Mariners are chock full of young talent that can only be described as “fun.”

Taking the bump in game one for the M’s is the son of Gary Sheffield, and once prized prospect of the Yankees, Justus Sheffield. The Mariners acquired Sheff from New York in a deal (much like the Sox with the Nationals and Lucas Giolito) where they sent James Paxton out East in return for him and a few other prospects that haven’t made it to the major league level yet. Sheffield toiled in the M’s system for a season before making the rotation in 2020 after a brief callup in September of 2019. He quickly made his impact, going 4-3 with a 3.5 ERA, and was 4th among all qualified rookie starters with 1.6 WAR in the shortened season.

Game two features Gio’s second start, and Paxton’s first as he was skipped in the rotation to give him extra rest. The Yankees didn’t really get the value out of Paxton that they were hoping to when they made that trade in 2018. He had a solid 2019, going 15-6 with a 3.86 ERA for the Yanks, but cratered in 2020 only starting 5 games and ending with a 6.68 ERA before he went under the knife for a flexor injury in his elbow. The M’s brought him back this season on a one year “prove it” deal for $8.5 million that could be worth up to $10 if he hits certain bonuses.

Justin Dunn, the former 1st round pick of the Mets in 2018 was acquired in the deal that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to NYC. Dunn, a former closer in college, was converted to a starter by the Mariners in 2019. He’s got a decend 4 seam fastball, and two quality breaking pitches in his curve and slider. For a kid who had only been a starter for less than a year, he performed pretty admirably in 2020. He doesn’t strike many people out, with a 7.4 K/9 average to go with a high 6.1 BB/9, so he can be gotten to if the Sox offense can wait him out.

Offensively for the M’s, last year’s ROY Kyle Lewis is still out with a knee injury, so that’s a bonus. The rest of the squad outside of the returning Mitch Haniger is still fairly unproven, though there is a lot of upside there. Dylan Moore is a Leury Garcia-type who plays all the diamond but hits for more power. Evan White is the M’s version of Andrew Vaughn, a 1B/DH type with very good power but not the eye of AV. Kyle Seager is still here, toiling away in the shadow of his more talented sibling down in LA.

Realistically if the Sox starters can keep the ball in the park and not walk anyone they should have a good chance at winning at least 2 of 3. I’m very curious about the return of Hard Carl tonight against Paxton. Hoping he has better results in his first start than his fellow Ethan Katz protégée Dylan Cease did last night.

The starters need to eat some innings this series after the bullpen threw a combined 14.2 in 4 games. They desperately need a break, and with no off day until Friday, it’s up to Gio and Keuchel to give them one. Offensively, going up against two lefties this series should theoretically work in the Sox favor. Moncada and Grandal need to pick up some of the slack that losing Tim and Eloy caused. Now would be a good time for Andrew Vaughn to break out as well.

Let’s Go Sox.

 

 

*Credit for the glorious Ghost Eloy pic goes to @RightSox. Follow him for more hilarity.

Baseball

VS

Records: Sox 33-17/Reds 25-26

Start Times: Fri 6:10/Sun 12:10

TV: NBCSN/FOX/NBCSN

Redreporter.com

PROBABLE STARTERS:

Friday: Tyler Mahle (1-2, 4.31 ERA) vs. Jonathan Stiever (0-0, 2.45 ERA)

Saturday: Tejay Antone (0-2, 2.76 ERA)vs. Dallas Keuchel (6-2, 2.19 ERA)

Sunday: Trevor Bauer (4-3, 1.71 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (5-2, 3.20 ERA)

PLAYOFFS, BABY!

The First Place White Sox travel to Cincinnati this weekend having clinched the first playoff berth the franchise has seen since 2008. TWELVE YEARS! Much has changed…

The team clinched an overuse of the term “Soxtober” by coming from behind to beat the hated MinneHOta Twins Thursday afternoon, securing postseason representation by taking three of four from their closest pursuant in the Division. Not much time for celebrations, though, as the team heads to the Queen city for three with the resurgent Reds, winners of five straight and thinking about a postseason trip of their own. The Reds have gone 7-3 in their last 10 to take over Second place in the NL Central and an automatic playoff berth – for now.

The exciting Sox bats weren’t exactly on full display against the Twins, but their 14 runs across the four game set were enough to buoy strong pitching performances from the pitching staff in the mid-week series. One would think they’d like to see more from the supporting cast around Jose Abreu and the timely Eloy Jimenez, and especially while visiting the notoriously hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. Sox hitters will look to do so against a few RH SP, none of which instill much fear outside of the polarizing Trevor Bauer. Bauer is hated by many, and rightfully has earned much of that hate, but us haters have to acknowledge the stellar campaign he’s put together in this most odd of seasons – 9 GS, 4-3, 1.71 ERA, 12.88 K/9, 2 CG shutouts, 2.1 WAR. The douche is making himself some money for his mercenary FA plan on the horizon and you can bet some time in the MLB playoff limelight would only improve his position, as would a dominant performance against the potent Sox lineup.

The Sox will also look to the bats to ease what looks to be an all-hands-on-deck type of weekend for the pitching staff. Jonathan Stiever takes his second, and possibly final, turn in the rotation and will look to go a bit further than the 3.2 innings he gave his team on Sunday against Detroilet. Dallas Keuchel makes his return from an IL stint on Saturday and the series wraps with escape artist Dylan Cease, so the bullpen is going to need to be as good as ever to hold down a surging Reds offense. That task is made even harder by the announcement of Setup Man Evan Marshall hitting the IL, with recent draftee Garrett Crochet getting the call to take his spot on the roster. He’ll almost assuredly make his MLB debut in relief this weekend, possibly in a big spot against the likes of veteran Joey Votto or powerful Jesse Winker. Votto boasts three homers in his last seven games, a stretch that’s seen the Reds go 6-1 while claiming sole possession of second place in the pillow fight that is the NL Central. Cincinnati finds itself a half game ahead of St. Louis and one ahead of Milwaukee as all three are under .500 overall.

We as fans get a glimpse as one of the “what could’ve been” scenarios when Nick Castellanos steps in to face Sox pitchers and patrols RF. I guess one of the positives of this truncated schedule is we haven’t been subjected to too many of the ones that got away in the offseason RF search, but it’s going to be hard not to focus on the Mazara/Castellanos comparisons all weekend. The Sox won’t be paying that situation much mind, though, and will need to show they’re focused on more than just this playoff berth as they have a chance to solidify their lead in their own Division and set up to clinch the AL Central next week in Cleveland. It’s easy to look ahead to that four game series and see Lucas Giolito on Monday and get excited, but the Reds are in a fight of their own and cannot be overlooked. My feeling is we’re going to see some high scoring games, likely with a lot of bullpen usage from the White Sox regardless.

The magic number for the Central Division crown is officially 7; the Sox have 10 games to play. This is entirely in the team’s control and a strong showing in Cincinnati while the Twins deal with the Cubs at Wrigley will give this fanbase even more to celebrate. Maybe even a whole ass AL PENNANT.

Don’t Stop Now Boys!

Baseball

We open the outfield previews with the young goofball set to hit all the dingers, Eloy Jimenez. Hi Mom!

Eloy kicked off a trend of signing in the Spring so as to avoid being a victim of service time manipulation ensure a place in the starting lineup and Left Field to open the 2019 campaign. Eloy started slow, had trouble with the curve/anything breaking and seemed to be trying to hit 10-run homers the whole first month+ before injuring himself in the field (which would become his unfortunate recurring theme). Then around June something clicked and in the second half he become the baseball mashing monster we all hoped, while improving his on-base skills in the process.

Jimenez is primed for a true breakout in 2020, ready to build on his incredible final month of 2019 (1.093 OPS/184 wRC+). The Big Baby spent the offseason determined to improve his very sub-par defense and emphatically squash talk of moving to DH any time soon (“No, fuck that”).

2019 Stats

.267/.315/.513

6.0 BB% 26.6 K%

31 HR 79 RBI 69 R

.343 wOBA 114 wRC+ 1.9 WAR

-11 DRS

Last Week On Nitro: 2019 saw Jimenez open his MLB account and it was most definitely not the greatest of debuts, much to the chagrin of Sox fans. Eloy piled up ugly strikeouts and ugly routes in the outfield, telegraphing the pressure he felt as the rebuilds golden boy. Jimenez took his sweet time adjusting to Big League breaking balls, which were the bane of his existence for a good two months. These are the type of things you expect from rookie hitters, even the best of them, but the expectations were unfair and it clearly weighed on the young slugger. The good news is he was able to make adjustments and improve and excel as the season went on. He settled in, going on a tear through June after returning from his first IL stint in May to the tune of 11 HR/25 RBI in 36 games. July saw another rough stretch (and second IL trip), which coincided with the club as a whole hitting the proverbial wall, before the Big Baby compiled a strong final 50+ games to see his 2nd half numbers reach 35/15/41/.292/.328 with a 128 wRC+/.870 OPS. The overall numbers above in just 122 games make for a very encouraging overall debut, especially factoring the abysmal start.

The real sore spot for Eloy’s rookie season, literally and figuratively, was his play in LF. Sox Machine’s Jim Margalus chronicled Jimenez’s season of OF gaffes in a twitter thread and it does not disappoint in all the worst ways. To his credit, Jimenez headed to Winter Ball in the Dominican with the sole purpose of working to improve his defense and stay in the field as long as he can. The Organization seems to think he’s making progress, given that they gave a three-year extension to the aging Jose Abreu, signed Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnacion and still employ plenty of other DH-adjacent bats like Zack Collins. Eloy is clearly averse to the idea and he’ll get the opportunity to prove his worth for the foreseeable future. He really doesn’t have anywhere to go but up from that -11 DRS metric, one that likely cost him a top three AL ROY finish.

TOO SWEET! (WHOOP WHOOP):  Eloy flies out of the gates in March, continuing his Sept/Oct 2019 assault on American League pitching, producing something like a .365 OBP/900+ OPS and swatting over 50 HR. The work in the field shows enough improvement to keep his DRS around -3-ish or better, helping him into the conversation for AL MVP on a White Sox team that threatens to crash the October party. He starts to pull the ball in the air more to LF, he keeps the K% closer to 20-22 and improves the BB% to 8-10 and the rest of the lineup benefits because of it. I party nearly every night.

Say Eloy improves his stat line to .310/.345/.540 and that’s still a marked improvement and a force. Combine this with what would be the baseline for the likes of Abreu, Grandal, Encarnacion, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson and you have a very, very dangerous lineup. Eloy could hit anywhere from the 3 hole to 7th, but ideally Ricky will spot him up somewhere and leave him so as not to mess with any improvements we’ve seen. This Spring he’s seen most of his time in the 5th spot, so we can assume that’s where he slots most of the year although you never really know with Ricky Renteria and his lineup blender.

There is some real speculation as to whether Jimenez will improve enough in the OF to get that DRS down so much, but he has put in the time and was much better later in the season (after he surely got a talking to for running himself into an elbow injury in July after karate kicking a wall earlier in they year). That and the addition of him making it a priority last Winter at least gives hope for a solid positive regression.

YOU FUCKED UP! YOU FUCKED UP!: The big numbers seen over the final two months were a mirage. Eloy slowly starts his season, forgetting the pitch recognition he picked up as 2019 wore on and yet again finds himself on the IL early because of a misplay in the field. He languishes through a sophomore slump, hits a paltry .240/.285/.460 and turns in an empty 25-30 HR along the way. He continues playing LF like the ungraceful elk he is while attempting to call off his CF often, who is now Luis Robert – a guy that will definitely hurt more running into that Charlie Tilson. I cry every night.

This scenario sees the fanbase and media start to question the long extension Jimenez inked in March 2019 and ponders if it’s really that great of business to dole out that kind of coin to players with no MLB ABs to their name (it still is). I do think that anything less than a slight improvement over Eloy’s final line from last season will be packaged as a disappointment from the media/fans and could hurt his mental development. This is a very tight knit core, though, one that has signed basically the entire lineup save RF for at least the next three seasons and has reinforcements in Andrew Vaughn (1B) and Nick Madrigal (2B) very close to being here for at least another six with everyone but Abreu and Grandal. Any adversity Jimenez or his teammates find will see the rest rally around them and that has to count for something.

BAH GAWD THAT’S JIMENEZ’S MUSIC!: I’m going to predict Eloy at .302/.341/.560 with 44 HR and a league leading 118 RBI. The lineup around him is vastly improved and so is his plate discipline, which leads to the breakout he’s capable of. He plays a slightly improved LF, enough so to stay out of Robert’s way and keep himself off the IL multiple times.

He could see time in a few different lineup spots, but it won’t be to his detriment as he finds cover no matter where he hits. Encarnacion dubs him his large adult son as Eloy edges him for the team lead in HRs. We all party.

 

 

Baseball

Moving along the diamond we come to the deepest position for the Sox infield, 1st base. It also contains the most tenured and respected player on the team, Jose Abreu. Nestled into the middle of the Sox “Sold B+” off-season was a 3 year extension for Jose. While the contract itself was a source of consternation for the Sox Faithful during the winter months, ultimately it’s now up to Jose to prove he deserved that paper and try to build off a season which was both successful (Led the AL in RBIs!) and not (highest K rate and lowest BB of his career). Let’s see what we can see, shall we?

 

2019 Stats

.284/.330/.503

33 HR 123 RBI

5.2 BB% 21.9 K%

.344 wOBA 117 wRC+ .833 OPS

Outs Above Average: -3

2019 Player Review

 

Last Week on Nitro: 2019 was somewhat of a mixed bag for Jose Abreu, as mentioned above. His power numbers were some of the best that he’s had since he broke into the league in 2014. The 33 home runs is his second highest mark, and the 123 RBIs blew away his previous high of 107. These are all (obviously) very good things, and what you’d expect out of someone of Jose’s size and position on the diamond. What wasn’t so great was the leap in his K rate and the precipitous dip in his BB rate. Jose was always known for his above average eye at the plate, and yet last season showed him chasing more down and away off-speed stuff. His OBP, while higher than 2018, was still a good .020 lower than his usual sterling .350 mark. The rest of his stats, including his hard hit and line drive rates were in line with his career norms. His BABIP was where you’d expect it to be as well.

Jose was also his usual stalwart self, hardly missing any time due to injury which has been a hallmark of his every season except 2018 (which we shall forget ever happened). So what to make of it all? Is this the new Abreu, primed for power and not worried that right field even exists? Or is it an outlier of sorts, and he will return to his “spray to all fields with pop” ways in 2020?

 

TOO SWEET (WHOOP WHOOP): While Jose is progressing in age, it’s by no means a death knell for his production. One only needs to look North to Nelson Cruz or even right here on the Sox with Edwin Encarnacion (who I’ll talk about tomorrow) to show that given the right scenario, those guys can not only be productive but key pieces of a baseball team that has deigns on more than just a winning record. Shit, by the time the season gets under way Abreu will be 6 years younger than Cruz, which seems to punch holes in the theory that the regression monster is destined to consume him.

The best case scenario for Jose this summer is the continued development of Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez. If the three of them are able to provide Jose some cover in the lineup, I could see him coming close to the power numbers he put up last year. Having Edwin Encarnacion  and Yasmani Grandal in the lineup could allow Abreu to hit comfortably in the #5 or 6 spot in the lineup, keeping his RBI opportunities plentiful but no longer forcing him to be THE MAN. If everything swings his way this year, I could see Jose having the kind of season that makes folks forget about the Sox overpaying him back in December. Turning back the clock to 2013 with a .290/.345/.500 kind of line with 120 RBIs is well within reach with proper placement in the lineup by Ricky and Jose’s continued good health.

On the other side of the ball, if Tim Anderson lived up to his promise and his D improves this winter, it will go a long way for Jose’s defensive numbers. Jose not having to chase shitty throws to the dugout or scoop shit outta the dirt like cat litter would be a nice change of pace for him. He’s never going to be Albert Pujols in his prime at 1B, but he’s not a sinkhole over there either. Add in the fact that Encarnacion, Grandal and even James McCann will be able to spell him at 1B will only help in the long run keeping Jose viable.

 

YOU FUCKED UP! YOU FUCKED UP!: The flip side of the mega-positive coin is instead of having 2019 Nelson Cruz as a comp, you end up with 2019 Miguel Cabrera. While Miggy was still a decently productive player in 2019 (.282/.346/.398), he was a slightly below average league player (-0.3 WAR), which for a guy with a contract that has a $31 million dollar AAV is nightmare fuel for fans of a team with an owner like Jerry Reinsdorf.

Miggy had a terrible time staying healthy over the past few years, and really his contract is the only thing keeping him on the field at this point. I’ve always been a big fan of Cabrera and his shenanigans on the field, but for a team like the White Sox who are poised to take the jump to the next level having this happen to Jose would be bad news.

The other thing that would be absolutely brutal for some of the Sox off-season moves is the ball suddenly goes back to not being made out of plutonium and all the dingers are now warning track fly outs. In the past this wouldn’t be the end of the world for Jose, but last season he decided to turn and burn way more than in seasons past, and a dead ball would have his numbers crash faster than that guy trying to prove the earth is flat by flying his own rockets.

 

BAH GAWD THAT’S ABREU’S MUSIC: Here’s my prediction for Jose for this season: it’s gonna be pretty much the same as last season. What we’ve seen out of Abreu lately is the new norm for him, as pulling the ball for power is a lot more fun than trying to split the right and center fielders. Running sucks, and people who do it for fun are insane. Why leg out a double when you can put one in the bullpen and jog around the bases? His final line will look something similar to this: .269/.325/.489, with 30 dingers and 110 RBI for a total of 2.0 WAR and a wRC+ of 115. Which is perfectly acceptable for him on this team.

Jose will most likely start the season hitting out of the 3 or 4 hole (Because Ricky Renteria), but with all the danger the Sox present in their lineup going forward Ricky will see the value of hitting Jose out of the 5 spot where he can comfortably knock in runs all year without the pressure of hitting higher in the lineup. He’ll have to spend some time at DH to get Grandal and Encarnacion reps at first (which he hates) but he’s the ultimate team player, and it’ll work for him.

The most important thing for Jose is he’s gonna have a shitload of fun this season, right along with the rest of us. Even if the Sox end up with 85 wins and miss the postseason by 6 games it’s going to mark a change in that dugout. The wave hasn’t made it to the shore yet, but it’s on the horizon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baseball

The first roster-fringe player we cover on our 2020 Sox Preview series is Zack Collins. While there is not a guarantee that Collins will make the Opening Day roster, he probably should get a good long look before the Sox decide to burn another option and send him down to AAA for however long, as he has very little left to prove in the minors. In a world without James McCann, Collins would be the obvious backup catcher, but as long as McCann is here Collins’ roster spot is in a bit of doubt. But we will touch on that. Let’s dig in

2019 MLB Stats

27 GP, .186/.307/.349, 3 HR, 12 RBI

-0.3 fWAR, -0.2 bWAR, -0.3 WARP

13.7 BB%, 38.8 K%

.285 wOBA, 77 wRC+ .656 OPS

-4 DRS, -3.1 FRAA

Last Week on Nitro: Collins spent most of 2019 in AAA, where his numbers were infinitely better than that drivel above us. I listed his MLB stats because, as I said in the open, he has almost nothing left to prove in the minors and should be an MLB player moving forward. But don’t let those rough stats from limited action as a rookie scare you off – Collins’ slash line in 88 AAA games was a much more encouraging .282/.403/.548 with 19 HR and 74 RBI, good for a .401 wOBA and 140 wRC+. Among the most encouraging aspects of Collins’ numbers at all levels of the minors and even his short MLB spell is the walk-rate and OBP, as that 13.7% he posted in the bigs last year counts as the lowest that number has been for him at any level of the minors. Collins simply does not chase bad pitching, forcing pitchers to come into the zone where he is a legitimate threat to take them deep on every pitch.

Another reason you can quite easily disregard any concern that could come from looking at those 2019 MLB stats is the way Rick Renteria used Collins when he was first called up. Despite the fact that the Sox had no one on the MLB roster who could serve as a reliable DH, Ricky kept Collins out of the everyday lineup and only had him playing sporadically every 3-to-5 days, and two of his first eight appearances (including his freakin’ MLB debut) came as nothing more than a pinch hitter. Going from an everyday impact bat in the minors to bench piece is a tough situation to be in when you’re also trying to adjust to MLB pitching. Obviously that was still when McCann was one of the Sox best hitters, but it was still poorly handled, in my opinion.

There are a few concerns about Collins’ future in the bigs, but I don’t think his 2019 should lose you any sleep.

TOO SWEET (WHOOP WHOOP): The best case scenario for Collins in 2020 is that some catcher elsewhere in MLB gets hurt and the Sox are able to trade McCann to fill that void, opening up the roster spot for Collins to walk into. There is a legitimate case to be made that Collins is a better fit for the 2020 Sox’ roster than McCann, anyway. With the presence of Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yasmani Grandal, all of whom hit lefties extremely well and should never sit when the Sox are facing a lefty, McCann is kinda crowded out of the only lineup where it makes sense to play him consistently. On the flip side, Collins absolutely raked righties throughout his MiLB career and in a perfect world might even feature in a lineup vs RHP over Abreu, although now we are just dreaming.

Regardless of McCann’s presence on the roster, Collins needs to spend significant time at the MLB level in 2020, and the ideal outcome would be that he gets platooned almost exclusively into those lineups vs RHP. That would eliminate a huge weakness from Collins’ game immediately. The walk rate is far from a concern, though you definitely want to see the K-rate come crashing down. He’s never struck out at a rate lower than 24.4% in the minors, but being below 30% is all I ask. Getting him into those RHP lineups on a semi-consistent basis and bringing the K-rate down should allow him to bump that OBP up closer to .350, and if he starts putting the bat on the ball more he is going to hit very hard and very far, so the slugging percentage will be nice as well. No, I don’t give a shit about his batting average.

Lastly, an ideal 2020 sees Collins’ work with his good buddy Grandal behind the plate take him from a downright liability at the backstop to a reliable backup option. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

YOU FUCKED UP! YOU FUCKED UP!: The nightmare outcome for Collins’ 2020 season is that it ends up looking an awful lot like his 2019 did. You don’t need a hell of a lot out of a backup catcher, but when you draft a guy in the first round of the MLB draft because his best position is hitter, you need to see that hitter come through. I don’t think he will ever stop walking, but if he can’t at least make more contact he will never really get to take advantage of all his power, and he will probably need to have at least a .210 average to really let his OBP be any semblance of productive. If 2020 looks like 2019 and he stays below the Mendoza line, the walking will only be worth so much.

I don’t actually think his fielding will get worse, but if he doesn’t improve behind the plate there could be some major problems.

BAH GAWD THAT’S COLLINS’ MUSIC: I think that at some point in the season, McCann will no longer be the primary backup catcher for the White Sox and Collins will take over that mantle, either via McCann getting traded or the Sox just doing the prudent thing from a organizational future standpoint, prioritizing the young controllable player instead of the pending free agent. Collins could also end up being the backup 1B and DH, giving Ricky three different ways to work him into lineups at various times throughout the year and get him more consistent at bats.

In terms of results, I would expect Collins line to wind up more in he realm of a .220/.350/.450 kinda player, as I really believe that even getting above .200 on the average will turn Collins into a damn near elite OBP guy. I still think he will strike out too much – more than the ideal 30% mark I said in best case – and that will prevent him from getting to all of his power, but he should hit 15-20 dingers if he appears in 60+ games. Unless his defense vastly improves, it will bring his WAR metrics down, but I think he can still be worth 1.0 to 1.5 wins in a semi-regular backup role in 2020.

Previous Player Previews

Yasmani Grandal

James McCann

Baseball

James McCann finds himself in a new world of a different kind in 2020: Backup Catcher, staring at the high likelihood of not reaching 100 games played for the first time in his career since his short debut at the end of 2014. McCann’s 2019 was a pleasant surprise, a torrid start helping to see him to setting career highs with 118 GP, 120 hits, 62 R, 26 2B, 18 HR, 60 RBI, 30 BB, .273/.328/.460/.789 batting line en route to an All-Star nod and a place in Sox fan’s hearts. What did he get for his breakout? a one year, $5.4M deal and a seat on the bench behind new starting backstop/pitch framer extraordinaire Yasmani Grandal. I feel like James isn’t gonna like the dip in GP heading into certain free agency this winter…

2019 Stats

.273/.328/.460, 18 HR, 60 RBI

2.3 fWAR, 3.8 bWAR, 1.0 WARP

6.3 BB%, 28.8 K%

.333 wOBA, 109 wRC+ .789 OPS

5 DRS, -10.2 FRAA, 11th-percentile framing

Last Week On Nitro: James found himself non-tendered by his previous employers in Detroit in the winter of 2018. He’d just come out of the worst season of his short career (57 wRC+) and the the Tigers decided the continued rebuild could do with any other backstop, allowing the 2nd-year arbitration eligible McCann to sign a one year, $2.5M contract with the rival White Sox. McCann sure did go about rubbing Detroit’s nose in it, scorching out of the gates on his way to an All-Star appearance and the aforementioned career marks all over the stat sheet. McCann’s intangibles were also deeply felt at the Arrow, with quick comfort and bonds with Lucas Giolito and others on the pitching staff helping to create some consistency and positive clubhouse culture from a position with a great deal of turnover for the Pale Hose. This all earned him another one year pact, avoiding his final arbitration chance for a cool $5.4M.

The bright lights would fade, though. McCann turned in a 133 wRC+ through the first 61 games and slowly reverted back towards his norm in the final 55 with a 83 wRC+ mark and stark regressions everywhere but in the power department (9 HR in each segment). Stark regression (sick fake band name) to his BB/K ratios and BABIP contributed to the swift end to the party and erased the thin veneer masking his near-league worst framing skills. Rick Hahn and Co., in somewhat of a shocker, decided not to bank on McCann finding a way back to his first half season glory and inked C Yasmani Grandal to the richest free agent contract in team history. Thanks for the good will and early season stat spikes, here’s about 40% of the playing time and double the pay for your troubles.

TOO SWEET (WHOOP WHOOP): The good news is we don’t have to try to project what a full McCann follow up might look like on account of having his playing time slashed to pieces. Shortly after the Grandal signing, there were many easily connectable dots to see a fun timeshare to be had between C-1B-DH among those on the roster in the form of McCann, Grandal, Jose Abreu and Zack Collins. McCann likely would have found his way to at least half a season’s worth of games, give or take, or more when you factor in that familiarity with the staff and team already in house. Then Christmas came and Edwin Encarnacion came with it, and any idea of a fun little timeshare with plenty of PT to go around went out the window.

You can safely expect McCann to be more of what he was in Sept/Oct 2019 throughout his reserve role in 2020, and a .250/.315/.460 and a BABIP closer to .300 is a very palatable line to get from your second catcher. Development and the signings of Grandal and EE make relying on McCann’s bat moot, something that even he should be feeling relaxed about, so he can focus on his real deficiencies. The area that McCann can really improve his worth is by becoming something more than literally the bottom of the league in pitch framing.

Those FRAA and 11th-percentile framing ranks are absolutely unacceptable for any team trying to win in the MLB and McCann seemed to realize, whether it was before the Grandal signing or the seconds after it was announced, that he needed to do all he could to improve in this area. He’s taken the steps this offseason to put the time in and work exclusively on his framing, and having a full spring training and season with Grandal will likely help the 31 year old backstop improve his abilities and his market value. Anything he can do to continue to help the development of the young starters and bullpen arms on the pitching staff will help McCann and the team.

YOU FUCKED UP! YOU FUCKED UP!: Keeping with the theme here, the Grandal and EE signings and overall development within the organization has shielded the team against having to deal with a “worst case scenario” involving James McCann. The Sox don’t need the McCann from the first 60 games last year, they don’t need him to sway nearly 20 homers and drive in gobs of runs and set career marks across his stat line. They also don’t need to worry about what to do in the event he craters to 2018 57 wRC+ levels because they actually went out and got ahead of that exact potential problem.

Is this really the White Sox we’re talking about?? The absolute worst case scenario is Grandal going down with a serious injury, McCann reverting to his non-tender campaign offense and failing to have any of the offseason framing work pay off. That would be a real fucking Rube Goldberg machine worth of catastrophes to get us anywhere close to that kind of scenario. No, this is a rare occasion where the Sox put themselves in position to deal with some sort of awful chain of events without having the bottom fall completely out.

McCann would pretty much have to pout to Chris Sale/Adam Eaton Drake LaRoche-era levels for us to hit a “worst case scenario” on his season. Progress!

BAH GAWD THAT’S McCANN’S MUSIC!: McCann got his island in the sun moments last summer, and he seems pretty damn pleased with it all. The guy has gotten a bunch of PT, albeit on some pretty atrocious teams, and gotten paid to do so, and he finally might be a part of something special. Would he like to keep playing 110 games/year? Sure. But I bet James McCann is pretty excited to be on a team with playoff aspirations for the first time in his entire career, too.

McCann hasn’t complained or shown any attitude with his change in role, at least not publicly. If he can pitch in a solid OBP and show improvement on his pitch framing he might find himself getting closer to 60+ games. Abreu and EE are going to need days off, Grandal can’t catch 140+. McCann still has plenty to prove for another contract and possibly a shot at a starting gig elsewhere in the future, but he’ll be needed this season with this team. Hopefully he can embrace that and succeed with the at bats and innings he’s given, and if not, well, it’s really just not that big of a deal.

Baseball

Jose Abreu and the White Sox did what we all thought they were going to do and agreed to a multi-year contract in lieu of the qualifying offer the Cuban first baseman accepted just over a week ago. With his countryman Yasmani Grandal now in the fold too, Abreu’s signing makes things more complicated than the QO reality of a few days ago.

The three-year, $50M pact was met with a mostly collective “sure. cool. whatever.” Not everyone was willing to congratulate Abreu and look ahead in what’s become a pretty active early off-season for the Sox, though. A vocal sect of media and fans are a bit sour on going to a three-year commitment with the streaky 32 year-old slugger when the team had him for one year, seemingly the preferred position from an analytical standpoint.

But this deal isn’t really about analytics, and if you can’t see the intangibles at play you’re really not even trying. Abreu and Jerry Reinsdorf apparently have a pretty great relationship, because his new paper represents the same kind of loyalty that Jerry shows his front office. Abreu has done a lot to keep the Sox relevant through the failed runs earlier in the decade and the subsequent tear down and rebuild they find themselves in at the end of it. Declining wRC+ be damned, Jerry decided he was going to welcome Jose into the family.

So is this going to be the regret that the un-silent minority thinks it is? Are the leadership and RBI binges, Cuban mentor/ambassador qualities all enough to justify the term/dollars? Is it really even that much in dollars? What does it mean for the future at first base and DH, specifically Andrew Vaughn?

First, the doom-and-gloom outlook. Yes, Abreu hasn’t been the same hitter the last two years that he was in his first four stateside. He dealt with many a nagging injury in 2018, but his 116 wRC+ across 2018-19 is more than 20 points worse than his 2014-17 average of 139. Sure, a continued decline is a possibility for a slugger on the fringes of his prime. But the underlying numbers say his 2019 wasn’t as bad as the surface suggests (highest hard-hit rate in his career, 2nd highest barrel rate) and FanGraphs Steamer projections have him at 32/89/.332 for 2020. Another addition to the lineup via RF could help improve/protect Abreu further as he ages.

The 3/$50M price looks a bit rough, again, on the surface, but I don’t need to delve further into how Abreu is the heart of this team, looked up to by many of the young players set to take the Sox to the next level. Eloy said he’s like a father. Yeah, an $18M cheerleader doesn’t look great in 2022, but the dollars here are all more complicated than they appear as well. Abreu will collect on that $50M, but he won’t see the last payment of it until 2026 with $4M in deferred money. Add to that a $5M signing bonus, and the deal is actually $11M/’20, $16M/’21, $14M/’18 for 3/$41. This could’ve definitely been worse in terms of loyalty deals, and as stated Abreu might justify this with his bat regardless.

So where does that bat fit across these next three seasons? This is where it gets interesting. The Sox don’t lack for players that will push Abreu through this deal, especially with Grandal onboard through ’23. Abreu, Grandal, James McCann, Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes look like they’re set to create a timeshare between 1B/DH/C in 2020. 2019 third overall pick Andrew Vaughn looks set to push for work with the big club by the end of 2020 but you can argue they’ve got plenty of cover to keep him in minors regardless, barring injury to at least two of those five; and even that would have to coincide with Vaughn forcing the issue in a major way with his bat. Like with Eloy, Robert, and Nick Madrigal the Sox have shown they’re willing to let the kids marinate. Maybe it’s different if they’re pushing for the playoffs, but that’s a bridge to be crossed when it approaches.

So what of the two years beyond next season? Well, while everyone wants Vaughn, or even Gavin Sheets for that matter, to force the issue we all know nothing is certain. So Vaughn can’t just be expected to be mashing in the MLB by the end of 2020. Given the track record, there are many worse options than having Abreu, with the aforementioned contingent, making up the playing time at first base. This gets real muddy if Eloy can’t stay in the field, but with reports that he’s headed to winterball this week to specifically work on his defense (“his goal is to win a Gold Glove in the MLB” says Hector Gomez) he appears seriously committed to improving that aspect of his game and staying in Left.

Basically, you can’t sort out how to deal with Abreu and his time at 1B/DH and who else is pushing for those ABs until they get there. And the Sox absolutely need him in 2020 at the very least, and at first for the most part. Easing him into more DH time helps the team solve its problems there as well, possibly to the point of moving him there full time by the end of this deal. 30 HR and a 116 wRC+ from the DH position in ’21-22 would be the best DH season Sox fans have seen in…half a decade? longer?

Rick Hahn has also been a pretty complimentary of Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes since the end of the season, going as far as to protect former AAA Rule 5 draftee Mercedes with a 40-man spot after a strong offensive season in Charlotte’s bandbox of a stadium. Collins very well could find himself in another organization if the right(fielder) fit is available via trade. I’d think they look to dangle guys like Collins, Sheets, Blake Rutherford, players they know have tough paths to real roles with this team that could help improve them elsewhere. If you’re banking of using Abreu as a bridge to Vaughn, six years of control on Collins might be better used by another team, but 2020 will also see the addition of a 26th roster spot – conceivably making room for everyone for a year, at least (whether that space is best used for a 1B/DH/C collective is probably a whole other post).

If you want to get crazy maybe Vaughn himself becomes expendable for a Mookie Betts deal, but I’d sooner expect the Bears to win the Super Bowl this season. Vaughn is a part of the plan moving forward, Abreu deal or not. Collins is the guy who just had his path to more at bats immediately affected by the signings last week. Maybe Abreu invited him to the celebration in Miami before he changes teams. It’s the least he could do for making him expendable.

Baseball

2019 Stats

.284/.330/.503

33 HR 123 RBI

5.2 BB% 21.9 K%

.344 wOBA 117 wRC+ .833 OPS

-4 Defensive Runs Saved

 

Tell Me A Story: It’s kind of hard to believe that this was the final season of Jose Abreu’s initial contract with the White Sox. When he was signed in the 2013 offseason I was ecstatic that the team was not only spending (at the time) big money on a free agent, but that they were dipping heavily into the Cuban pool which was rapidly becoming the best international market around. It seemed the Sox were ready to get serious about taking back the AL central from the Indians and the Royals with this move. Ohhh how wrong I was.

Regardless of how those seasons turned out, Jose Abreu has been worth every penny of that first contract with the Sox. He’s generated 21.2 WAR in his time with the team, never been lower than 115 in wRC+, and if you throw out the 2018 season (far and away his worst, on a terrible ass team with no protection) he’s never had less than 100 RBI or 25 HR in a year. He was also Rookie of the Year in 2014 and been an All Star three separate times.

So what did he do this season? Well despite setting a career high in strikeouts this season and enduring a pretty rough stretch in June and July, Abreu still managed to post the highest RBI total of his career, in addition to his 3rd-highest amount of extra base hits. Just another day at the office for the most consistent producer the Sox have had since Frank Thomas manned 1B.

Back during his midsummer swoon I found myself preparing to say goodbye to Abreu at the end of the season. It seemed a foregone conclusion that him and the Sox would be parting ways both due to his age rising and his production seemingly dropping off a cliff. How foolish I was, as once the page turned to August, Abreu returned to his uber-productive ways by slashing .324/.386/.946 the remainder of the season. He also hit a wacky .338 with runners in scoring position, which was top 15 in the league for that stat.

The thing that really stands out is most of his contact numbers are in line with his career averages. His line drive rate was only .7% above his average, and his hard hit rating about the same. The only interesting thing is his pull rate jumped almost 5% from 39% to 44% which may have been part of the reason for his mid-season dip in production as when Abreu is locked in at the plate, he hits to all fields of the park. Even his BABIP was in line with his career averages, so it’s not like he was the beneficiary of good luck at the plate. All in all, Abreu did this season what he’s done every season. He’s the Swiss watch of AL first basemen, and a model of consistency.

The other thing about Jose Abreu is his effect on the younger Cuban players in the locker room. Both Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada have been quoted about looking up to Abreu and learning from his experience both as a baseball player and an immigrant from Cuba. In addition, Abreu does a lot of charity work through his organization “Abreu’s Amigos” which does outreach work to kids with special needs in the community. Check out this link from the blog WhiteSoxPride if you want to have your cold, dead Sox Fan heart warmed up a few degrees.

Contract: Free Agent in 2020

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: As I said above, in the middle part of the year the answer here would have been a boot in the ass (or more likely a pat on the back and a handshake. Jose is too classy for anything else). Then August and September happened, and he lead the team and the entire AL in RBIs while knocking 33 dingers out of the park. All of this, combined with his role as mentor of The Future™ of the Sox AND his stated desire to continue with the team and see the rebuild through all but guarantees his return.

Honestly, that’s how it should be. Are his skills going to decline as he heads into his mid 30s? Most likely, though I wouldn’t put it past him to continue being the metronome of 1st basemen. Will he still be able to play 1st base as his back ages more? Probably, but age comes for us all in different ways and times (See; Seabrook, Brent).

Jose Abreu deserves the chance to see this rebuild through to the other side and get a taste of the postseason. He’s been a model soldier to an organization that’s done some ridiculously dumb shit in his time with the Sox, and has been a quiet clubhouse leader. He may not take a large discount to come back, but I would think an additional three years at his current salary of $16 million would be enough to get the job done. Rick Hahn has pretty much all but guaranteed they would be able to get a deal done, and I would think it would be in place before the winter meetings in a month and a half. Let’s be honest, you want to see Abreu batting in the middle of a lineup that includes Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez and (hopefully) JD Martinez or someone like him (Grandal). He deserves it, we deserve it, and I’d be shocked if it doesn’t happen.