With all notable executives gathered in the same place for the general managers meetings in Orlando, Dan Hayes surveyed the crowd in an attempt to gauge Jose Abreu's readiness. Can the White Sox expect an impact close to the one Yasiel Puig made with the Dodgers, even though he won't have the luxury of minor-league development time?
The response was optimistic, based on Abreu's experience. It's not just that he's four years older than Puig and didn't miss the previous year like Puig did, but because Abreu is widely considered to be mentally prepared, and will have a Cuban support group to help him along.
One area the White Sox hope to rely on is Abreu’s maturity, an aspect Puig was at times questioned for this summer. The White Sox, Abreu’s agent, and several scouts all believe Abreu to be extremely mature and well suited to handle a difficult acclimation to a new culture.
Abreu’s wife was a doctor in Cuba and when he was asked why he to chose wear No. 79 for the White Sox, the first baseman said his mother picked it for him when he was younger. On the day he signed with the White Sox, Abreu, who is now living in Miami, cried when he reached the field and saw welcome signs on the scoreboard.
It's kind of neat to learn about Abreu's wife -- MLB Trade Rumors says Abreu had a wife and son, but Abreu declined to talk about his family or any parts about his defection from Cuba during his introductory press conference.
Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said Abreu "should produce immediately," which is expected since his club was in on the bidding, and heavy, too.
- White Sox evaluating upgrade at catcher - whitesox.com
- Saltalamacchia could be a fit for White Sox - CSN Chicago
Scott Merkin catches up with Tyler Flowers, who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Flowers has to walk a fine line between expressing confidence in his abilities, and acknowledging that he botched his best opportunity yet to hold a job in the major leagues. Merkin guesses that the Sox will tender him a contract, and on Twitter he added that Flowers' ability to call a game doesn't go unnoticed.
I don't see how the Sox can go an entire offseason without adding a starting catcher from the outside, but if I had to pick between Flowers and Josh Phegley for a backup job, I'd put more faith in Flowers to keep the game on track. At least assuming he bounces back from shoulder surgery as anticipated.
Merkin also says the Sox have been in contact with Jarrod Saltalamacchia's camp, and Hayes thinks he would be a fit. I'm not so enthused, especially if his 2013 season was a BABIP creation (.372).
The official word from Rick Hahn:
Hahn said he has spoken with other clubs by phone for weeks with an eye toward accelerating talks during this three-day set of meetings — even if it doesn’t mean a deal gets done until the winter meetings at Disney World early next month.[...]
"While there may not be any significant deals consummated until we’re back in Orlando a few weeks from now — or perhaps even later, a lot of time the foundation is laid this week," Hahn said.
James unveils the grand offseason plan concocted by the Southside Showdown gang.
- Braves' big move to Cobb County - Talking Chop
- A desperate trip into the ruins of Turner Field - SBNation.com
- Explaining Cobb County, the future home of the Atlanta Braves - SBNation.com
The big baseball news of the day? The Braves announcing their plans to move out of Turner Field to a new stadium in Cobb County by 2017. My cohorts around the network have it covered. In order, Talking Chop has a running storystream with all the (incomplete) details, Spencer Hall risked life and limb to produce a photo essay of Turner Field's decrepit remains, and Jason Kirk reminded me why "Cobb County" sounded so familiar:
- Wil Myers wins American League Rookie of the Year -- BBWAA.com
- Jose Fernandez wins National League Rookie of the Year -- BBWAA.com
The Rookie of the Year awards were also released, but no surprises here -- except if you thought Yasiel Puig might receive a few more first-place votes.
- Twins: Joe Mauer to first base in 2014, will not catch - Twinkie Town
- The hidden(?) cost of Joe Mauer's move to first - Beyond the Box Score
It's unfortunate that multiple concussions have forced Joe Mauer to move out from behind the plate, but this may reduce the number of mound visits in Twins games. Then again, he can always make the trip from first base.