One MLB insider does not expect to see Jose Abreu wearing a White Sox uniform next season.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale was a guest on 670 The Score’s “Inside the Clubhouse” this past Saturday and said that it’s unlikely the team’s veteran first baseman will return in 2023.
“I don’t think there’s any way in the world they bring back Jose Abreu,” Nightengale commented blatantly. “I love the guy. He still had a strong season, but you got to change things up in there.”
Nightengale believes the team will make nearly everyone available, and expects a lot of moves this upcoming offseason. He also noted how the club is in need of a vocal leader for their clubhouse, something they lacked during their disappointing 2022 campaign.
The USA Today Sports writer later went on to double down in his Sunday Notebook.
“The White Sox loved having Jose Abreu the past nine years, and has been nothing but a class act and valuable hitter, but they plan to part ways with him. Simply, they need to shake up their team, and are making virtually everyone but Dylan Cease and Andrew Vaughn available in trades.”– Bob Nightengale/USA Today
Abreu, 35, turned in another quality season for the White Sox while battling injuries in 2022. Across 157 games played, he finished hitting .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 in Chicago, Abreu slashed .292/.354/.506 with 243 home runs, 863 runs batted in, a .860 OPS, 133 wRC+, and a .364 wOBA. He amassed 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.
Much to the disappointment of all parties involved, Abreu enters free agency with only two playoff victories across his nine years on the South Side. 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. This makes the tenor of the veteran’s impending free agency differ greatly from 2019, where Abreu went as far as to say he was going to sign himself to stay with the franchise.
“We’re going to be very good. If the White Sox don’t sign me, I’m going to sign here anyway. I’m going to sign myself here. I’m going to be here, believe me. I don’t want to miss this. I don’t want to miss what is coming.”– Jose Abreu (via Vinnie Duber/Twitter – July 9, 2019)
In a press conference before the season’s end, Abreu expressed his desire to continue playing and showed an interest in returning. However, the first baseman said he has not engaged in any talks with the front office and will plan to take the offseason to rest and think about what comes next. He also took a moment to send a thank you message to the fan base, which only adds to the uncertainty of the situation.
“I want to thank them for all the support [and] for always having my back. These were a special nine years and I hope there can be more. But until now, it’s been very special. And I’m going to be forever grateful for them.”’– Jose Abreu (via translator Billy Russo)
As more on Abreu’s future is made available, we will provide further updates both here and on social media. Follow along on all platforms at @SoxOn35th.
Nightengale’s full conversation on 670 The Score can be found here.
Featured Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports