Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu deserves to stay for long haul

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

A model of consistency on the field and a steadying presence in the locker room, Jose Abreu has earned his place in the Chicago White Sox future.

I was a fan of the Chicago White Sox before any other professional sports team, including the glorious Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.

And in all the 20+ years I’ve followed the South Siders, I don’t know if I can name anyone aside from perhaps Paul Konerko that I respect more than Jose Abreu.

Since he’s arrived with the Chicago White Sox, he has represented nothing but true class and professionalism on and off the baseball field. His work ethic and dedication to his craft, even improving his subpar defense, serve as an example to a young team that could get really good really soon.

Speaking of which, he’s been pretty good himself. Even as the team around him continues to struggle offensively, Abreu just keeps producing the way he always has. This year was no different: .301 average, 33 home runs, 102 RBI, .906 OPS, tying for seventh in the MLB with 43 doubles.

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When he signed with the White Sox before the 2014 season for six years, $68 million, this kind of production was the hope. But truthfully, the fact that he’s actually done it (like clockwork, to boot) makes that deal a bargain.

Even with him approaching 31 years of age, I sincerely hope that sometime in the next two years, the Chicago White Sox reward him handsomely for his hard work. And I’m not just talking about his play.

A leader on the field…

Looking at Abreu’s career numbers with the White Sox, it’s easy to brush aside his work because of: A. how bad the team is, and B. the fact that he’s not a particularly outspoken personality.

But that doesn’t make his accomplishments any less worthy of praise.

Since he began his scintillating rookie campaign, Abreu has battled through good times, bad times and everything in between to average .301, 31 homers, 102.5 RBI and an OPS of .883 over his four seasons in Chicago.

That kind of consistency speaks not just to his ability and power but to his ability to make adjustments.

In the past two seasons, he’s hit the ball to the opposite field more than he did in his first two. Plus, he squared up the baseball with hard contact more last year when he had since 2014. And his ability to get hot and stay hot the way he was last September inevitably remind everyone just how dangerous he is, lest they get lulled to sleep by his understated, persistent style.

You don’t just find guys that can do that on trees.

Sure, you hope that Avisail Garcia, who just reached his first All-Star game, can continue morphing into the monster hitter he showed consistent glimpses of becoming for the first time. And you hope the likes of Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert eventually give the White Sox that type of production.

But with Abreu, you already have it, and until further notice, you’re going to keep getting it. Why not lock down this simultaneously steadying and threatening middle-of-the-order piece instead of banking on unknowns?

I know White Sox fans will likely be in

…And in the clubhouse

Interestingly, though, his most important contributions to this franchise might be what he brings to the next generation of Chicago White Sox stars.

Specifically, with all these up-and-coming Latino stars looking to vault the Sox back into championship contention, what better mentor could you possibly wish for than Abreu?

We already know about the kinship he has with fellow Cubano star Moncada, who will be one of the faces of this team’s future, and the friendship he has developed with guys like Yolmer Sanchez, who has become a truly dependable everyday second baseman.

And when Jimenez and Robert, another Cuban-born player, arrive in the big leagues, they’ll have Abreu to look to for guidance as well. From a clubhouse standpoint, I can’t think of a better scenario for them.

Plus, they’ll have one heck of a professional to help mold their big-league habits as well. After all, here’s a guy who shows up to work every day (~154 games played per year) and who takes excellent care of himself. I mean, he works out after games, for goodness sake. How can you not respect that?

Next: Should the White Sox make a run at Yu Darvish?

Long story short, Abreu has earned every last right to be on this team for the foreseeable future. Truthfully, I expect nothing less; I’m sure the South Siders’ brass know his value just as well as I do and are already preparing to make this commitment.

Behind his steady play and veteran guidance, the Chicago White Sox turnaround might get rolling sooner than expected.