The stove has officially been turned on.
As announced by the MLB Players Association, 131 players around the league officially reached free-agency status on Sunday morning. An additional group of players have until November 10th to become free agents based on their pending option decisions.
Though the Dodgers lead all teams with 10 free agents, the White Sox have four of their own:
- Jose Abreu (1B)
- Elvis Andrus (SS)
- Johnny Cueto (RHP)
- Vince Velasquez (RHP)
Despite battling injuries throughout 2022, Abreu turned in another quality season and might have the best chance at a return. In 157 games played, the 35-year-old hit .304/.378/.446 with 15 home runs, 75 RBI, and a .824 OPS, good for a 137 wRC+, 4.2 bWAR, and 3.9 fWAR.
Across his nine seasons with the club, Abreu has slashed .292/.354/.506 with 243 home runs, 863 runs batted in, a .860 OPS, 133 wRC+, and a .364 wOBA. He’s amassed a 31.9 bWAR and 27.7 fWAR, both of which are the 19th-highest in franchise history. Overall, the Cuban appeared in 1,270 games, registered 5,506 plate appearances, and became both a fan favorite and unofficial team captain along the way.
Abreu was already been the subject of many rumors and debates among fans. In a press conference before the season’s end, the first baseman expressed his desire to continue playing and showed an interest in returning. However, he said he had not engaged in any talks with the front office and will plan to take the offseason to rest and think about what comes next.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn recently admitted that a potential re-signing of Abreu would have “a ripple effect” on the rest of the roster, so the probability of a return does not appear favorable.
For more on Abreu’s free agency, check out the previously published articles:
- Jose Abreu thanks White Sox fans, discusses uncertain future
- In appreciation of Jose Abreu’s White Sox career
- MLB insider does not expect Jose Abreu to re-sign with the White Sox
- Cubs will reportedly pursue free agent Jose Abreu this offseason
Andrus, 34, joined the White Sox on August 19th after being released by the Athletics two days prior. The veteran filled in nicely for Tim Anderson and provided an immediate spark for the team as they attempted to make a late run at the division.
In 43 games, Andrus hit .271/.309/.464 (49-for-181) with nine home runs, 28 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and 1.7 WAR. Aside from his lone appearance as a designated hitter, Andrus played the rest of his 42 games at shortstop, just as he’s done for the entirety of his 14-year career. The first-time free agent will now be testing the open waters to see if another team, preferably a contender, needs him up the middle at his native position.
As for Cueto, the 36-year-old signed with the White Sox to a one-year, $4.2 million minor league deal on April 5, and proved to be one of the few bright spots this season. Across 25 outings (24 starts), Cueto finished the season with a 3.35 ERA (59 ER/158.1 IP), 102 strikeouts, 3.79 FIP, and 1.225 WHIP. Following his final outing vs. the Twins, the veteran recorded his 18th quality start of the season, the most since his 2016 All-Star campaign (22).
Velasquez, 30, signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Sox on March 14. He went on to make 27 appearances (eight starts), and compiled a 4.78 ERA (40 ER/75.1 IP) with 69 strikeouts, and a 1.235 WHIP by the season’s end.
By rule, the above players who filed for free agency are only able to negotiate with their current team. Before the free agent market officially opens on November 10th, teams and players must make decisions regarding club options, opt-outs, mutual options, and qualifying offers. Meanwhile, the trade market has re-opened for everyone, with the Braves and Rockies already taking advantage.
Two other names to watch for the White Sox over the next few days are Josh Harrison and AJ Pollock. It would seem that it’s more likely than not that Harrison’s team option will be declined and Pollock’s player option will be exercised.
As decisions are made, we will be providing full coverage here and on social media @SoxOn35th.
- White Sox named as potential fit for 5 top free agents
- Report: White Sox to pick up Anderson’s club option
- Johnny Cueto open to White Sox reunion in 2023
- Elvis Andrus open to White Sox return in 2023
Featured photo: © Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports