It appears that it is going to be Andrew Vaughn’s turn to play first base starting next season.
According to Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, Abreu’s chances of coming back to the White Sox are “close to zero,” as he wrote this Wednesday morning. In the same article, Levine mentioned that the Cubs are going to be a suitor for Abreu once free agency officially begins on Thursday.
Here’s what Levine had to say about Abreu’s situation with the White Sox:
“With that in mind, the Cubs will soon be in discussions with representatives for first baseman Jose Abreu, whose chances of returning to the White Sox are close to zero, according to multiple sources. Abreu has played his entire nine-year MLB career on the South Side, but he understood by season’s end that the White Sox’s roster logjam of first basemen and designated hitters would almost certainly mean he’d head elsewhere in free agency this offseason.”
For many, this isn’t new news; rather, it’s a confirmation of what many Sox fans saw to be the case – Abreu’s game against the Twins this season was likely his last on the South Side. While the White Sox do have a rich history of great first basemen, they’re no strangers to seeing their veterans join another team for a year or two after long tenures on the South Side. After Abreu promised to “sign himself” last time he was a free agent, both he and Rick Hahn took strikingly different tones in how they approached Abreu’s free agency this time around.
Hahn has been non-committal on Abreu’s status with the team for quite some time. With a crowded roster full of DH/1B-type players, the White Sox are in desperate need of better defensive output, which starts with putting players in their natural position.
“Vaughn is a first baseman. That’s how he was drafted,” Hahn said Tuesday at the GM Meetings. “Does it mean he’s going to be our first baseman next year? Not necessarily. He wasn’t either the past two seasons. But I think, in the end, his best defensive position is first base. And perhaps ultimately, whenever [the] time comes that he settles into position, I think you’re asking a lot less of him, and perhaps that even increases his offensive production as a result.”
“It’s nice to have a guy you believe in as the alternative,” Hahn said when asked about Vaughn. “But it doesn’t take away from the fact what José has accomplished for us over the years, his importance in the clubhouse, and if he’s not with us next year, he’ll be missed.
This is really the most candid that Hahn has been when talking about Abreu, but with a team that fell far below expectations, the status quo is far from acceptable. Look for the Cubs and the Houston Astros to be two teams that may inquire about Abreu’s services heading into 2023 and beyond.
Follow us @SoxOn35th for more throughout the offseason!
Featured Image: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports