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Should I Stay or Should I Go: José Abreu

He held up his end of the bargain, but the White Sox couldn’t make good on his bargain value

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
It’s a moot point now, but even before the news became official on Monday, we knew José Abreu would be running out the door on the White Sox.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

fWAR: 3.9
bWAR: 4.2
WARP: 3.6

He should have stayed On a team that struggled mightily to produce on offense all season long, Pito was once again the team’s rock, leading all White Sox position players in WAR by a significant margin due to a combination of availability (157 games played) and continued excellence at the plate (137 wRC+). He lost a lot of his power stroke, but compensated with a higher walk rate and lower strikeout rate. The team can ill-afford to lose arguably its only reliable offensive presence.

He should have gone Despite winning Rookie of the Year, an MVP, possessing a career .292/.354/.506 triple slash, leading the league in total bases and RBIs twice each, posting an .857 OPS in two postseasons, and a reputation as one of the greatest clubhouse professionals in team history, the White Sox have completely failed to build a winner around Abreu across two rebuilds and culminating in a record payroll. Having spent far too much draft and trade capital acquiring Pito’s potential replacements (Andrew Vaughn, Jake Burger, Gavin Sheets, Eloy Jiménez, etc.), the team simply is not constructed to capitalize on his production, and part of the necessary remake is probably investing elsewhere.

The verdict Jeez, this sucks. Abreu is a consummate professional, and deserved a lot better than what this franchise stuck him with. Granted, he was paid a lot of money, but he absolutely delivered throughout, unlike virtually everybody else Rick Hahn has handed a paycheck to. Bringing back Abreu probably means parting with Vaughn and/or Jiménez and trying to shore up weaknesses in trade, but that also means hoping Abreu doesn’t decline significantly in his age-36 season (always a danger) and basically going 2023-or-bust. Through no fault of his own, things have not worked out with Abreu here, and he’s the best and most expensive of a series of redundant parts on a team that desperately needs to get younger, more balanced, and better defensively. My hope is that José winds up on a team that shows its appreciation for him with a World Series ring, not just a “congrats on hitting for the cycle” ring.