Whether it was a mutual split or a huge fight caused it, breakups are hard. The first breakup does not make the fifth one any easier, and that’s why José Abreu leaving the White Sox can hurt just as much as Mark Buehrle or Frank Thomas signing elsewhere.
Abreu came to Chicago at the age of 27 and manned first base for nine years. He made a positive contribution to the team every time he stepped on the field, so of course it stung when he decided to walk away from this organization after almost a decade.
Plus, it had to be the Astros.
Abreu was in a situation that was no longer serving him. He grinded with the White Sox through some of their worst moments and when it came to finally entering what he thought was a contention window, he took a pay cut to come back. When the winning didn’t come and decisions he didn’t agree with were being made, he chose to leave. I cannot sit here and call him a traitor, or say that I hate him. He did what he felt was best for him at this point in his career.
I have spent most of the offseason trying to ignore the fact that we would have to see him from across the diamond first thing to start the season. But as I scrolled through social media yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice rhetoric that called Abreu a traitor, or people saying that they “hated” him.
You as a fan are allowed to feel however you wish, but I find that quite odd.
If your best friend stayed with her partner of nine years simply because it was comfortable and the only thing she knew, you would be yelling at her. If your partner of nine years was doing things you didn’t agree with, you would leave. It might just be a case of the right person, wrong time.
As I might tell an ex, I wish him nothing but the best. And I hope to hear of Abreu’s successes throughout the season — but watching Dylan Cease strike him out on Thursday was the closure I needed.
So I offer you a space to grieve the loss of a beloved player — but I also encourage you to consider that you don’t need to hate him for leaving.