Following up: Jose Abreu even more adamant about staying with White Sox

Between 21 innings of baseball and Fourth of July festivities, I couldn’t get to a couple things I saw during and after Wednesday’s doubleheader. Thanks to the ultra-rare Friday off day, we have time to go back.

* * * * * * * * *

After Jose Abreu delivered one of the season’s biggest hits in the form of a three-run walk-off homer to seal the sweep of Wednesday’s doubleheader, he delivered one of the season’s best quotes.

“I don’t want to leave here,” Abreu said through White Sox translator Billy Russo. […]

“If I would be the owner, I would sign myself here. Hopefully, yes, I want to stay here.”

Patrick did a great job of assessing the decision regarding Abreu, and it seems fairly straightforward — his skills don’t get paid the way they used to, but the White Sox can still use them for the time being, both sides seem like they want to stay the course, so something should get done. But seeing Abreu stump for an extension makes the delay a little curious, especially since Hahn put himself out there more than usual by saying about Abreu, “He’s been here throughout the early stages of this rebuild, and it’s certainly very likely that he’ll be here for the more enjoyable stages that lie ahead of us.”

Maybe the White Sox — and other teams, since midseason extensions aren’t terribly common anywhere — would rather let the season play out in the event of an injury or other career-altering event, especially since they can wield the qualifying offer fairly effectively.

On the podcast, Josh asked about the last time the Sox struck a midseason extension. I couldn’t think of one off-hand, but a couple of Sox Machinists stepped up:

Freddy Garcia signed his extension shortly after the White Sox acquired him from Seattle, and it was likely a condition of the trade, since the White Sox gave up a haul for a player who would’ve been a rental for a non-contending team otherwise.

Mark Buehrle’s situation in 2007 is a lot closer, in that it would’ve made a lot of on-paper sense to trade him, but emotions and intangibles made it hard to lobby for that. He received multiple random standing ovations as June turned to July because fans weren’t sure if they were watching his last-ever start for the White Sox. It culminated in him setting off #HugWatch alarms before it was a hashtag on July 8, but only because he reached an extension to keep him around another four years.

On one hand, that was 12 years ago, and free agency has changed tons. On the other hand, it’s the White Sox, so the guys in charge from 12 years ago are still in charge now. I’m guessing the Sox will wait until September or October to announce something, but it’s only a guess. Abreu has few precedents, whether it’s how he came to the country or how much he outwardly wants to play for nobody else but the White Sox.

* * * * * * * * *

When it comes to a rookie pitcher making his MLB debut, five innings and a win is a strong outcome no matter how he goes about doing it. Dylan Cease graded himself on the same curve, more or less.

“It was a good first start,” Cease said. “Obviously the command wasn’t the best, but I’ll take a win any time.”

Cease said he was able to correct some mechanical flaws after the first inning, but a couple of external circumstances also gave him an assist. Not only did he face an underwater Tigers offense, but he got a massive strike zone from home plate umpire Bill Miller in the second inning that put him in favorable counts for an 11-pitch 1-2-3 inning.

The orange dot to the left of the zone was this curveball that hooked around the plate on a 1-0 count to JaCoby Jones.

Instead of working from behind in the count, Cease pulled even, and the at-bat resulted in his first strikeout.

Similarly, the first pitch he threw to Christin Stewart wasn’t a strike, and Stewart was more demonstrative about it.

While James McCann called for a pitch low and away and Cease’s brain attempted to oblige, Cease’s arm decided to try getting the exact same strike. Stewart, now defending a very high strike zone, tried to go after it and was unsuccessful.

Cease then locked Stewart with a slider above the knees to end the inning.

Given the way Cease settled in afterward, it’s not unrealistic to think that he could’ve pitched past 2-0 and 1-0 counts against non-elite MLB hitters and set himself up for success in the same way. Given the way he struggled in the first inning, though, I’m inclined to think that a less favorable strike zone could have led to his start getting cut short in the third or fourth inning.

Whatever the case, part of pitching is benefiting from favorable zones, then taking advantage of them. However he got those strikes, he seized the opening and brought his pitch count closer to normal, after which he earned just about all the strikes himself, and his first MLB win at the end of it.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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iowasox1971

Abreu reminds me a lot of Willie Stargell, and he seems to have a lot of the team-leading qualities that Stargell possessed. Obviously, the Sox right now are not as good as those Pittsburgh teams of the 1970s, but I could see Abreu being playing the role of “Pops” in Chicago as this club improves the next few seasons. Letting Abreu go right now would be a big mistake. The younger players look up to him, and he is still a very productive hitter.

sausalito pale hose

absolutely agree; a better example maybe Big Poppy from Boston. I could see Abreu settling in for 6-7 more years as an elite hitter, slowly evolving to DH. Big stable upside hanging on to him

gusguyman

Grading on the curve of 1B/DH, he’s not an elite hitter right now. He certainly doesn’t have 6-7 more years lol.

iowasox1971

“Not an elite hitter right now.” ???

Abreu’s tied for the American League lead in RBIs, and he has driven in more runs than Mike Trout. He’s having a very good season.
If you could have Abreu switch places with other players, who would have driven in more runs so far this season with the White Sox? Would Trout have more RBIs? Well, consider that the Angels have scored 442 runs this season; or 70 more than the Sox. So, it stands to reason that the Angels have a better lineup, with more opportunities to drive in runs, etc. Obviously, Abreu is not a better player than Trout, but Abreu is having a very good season. Not sure why people keep thinking he’s not.

iowasox1971

One way to look at this is that instead of taking a walk and selfishly improving his OBP, Abreu will swing at a pitch a few inches off the plate, knowing that doing so might actually help the team in the long run. When you have had Yonder hitting behind you for much of the season, what’s the better choice for the team?
Also not sure how the point is “moot” now that Trout has tied him. If he’s even tied with Trout, despite being in a much-weaker lineup and on a team with a much-worse OBP, doesn’t that still put Abreu in a favorable light as far as RBIs go?

karkovice squad

Also, too, strength of schedule.

PauliePaulie

For players with more than 200 PA’s, his 113 wRC+ is 99th in MLB, tied for 17th among 1B, and 4th on the Sox.

He’s in decline and his slumps are more frequent and last longer.
Any contract longer than a year risks paying 8 figures to a RH/DH bench bat when they’d hope to be a contender.

iowasox1971

If they sign someone who’s good enough to put him on the bench, then I’m all for it. But there aren’t that many guys in MLB who are going to drive in as many runs in this lineup. Advanced stats give unfair advantages to guys who are in stronger lineups and have better protection. Guys on Houston and Boston, for example, can take a two-out walk when the pitcher is nibbling and still have confidence that the next guy is going to drive in the run. Abreu hasn’t had that luxury during most of his career here.

PauliePaulie

Andrew Vaughn promoted to Kannapolis.

ParisSox

Zangari must be getting called up then, clearly. 

Joliet Orange Sox

I think the Abreu extension situation depends on the exact numbers. I think his leadership has some value and I am uninspired by the FA replacement options. However, I am aware that he is 32 years old this season and a decline of some magnitude is coming or has started. That said, I support extending him if it ia at a reasonable price with club options after the first year.

The question is how much does he think he’s worth? If he’s realistic about the value of aging 1b/dh types, this should get done.

Trooper Galactus

Between the relatively light offers being made to players like Abreu in free agency and the existence of several possible in-house replacements (Vaughn, Sheets, Burger, Collins, etc.), I don’t know how eager the White Sox are going to be to go multiple years on him.

tommytwonines

I don’t care for these in-house replacements (except probably Vaughn, who’s been in the organization a week – woohoo promoted to A ball!), so let’s sign Abreu for a few years on a team-friendly deal. Shouldn’t be hard. 

Trooper Galactus

Personally, I think people shouldn’t sleep on Gavin Sheets. The talent is there and he’s starting to put it all together.

zerobs

Cease and Giolito and pray for tornado.

At this point I think Jose is mostly just begging not to get traded. Question: as long as he is under contract, is there a CBA limit to how low of an AAV he can be offered in an extension?

GoGoSoxFan

Clearly, if Renisdorf plays his cards right Abreu will pay him to play for the Sox. 3/$3mm should work.

lil jimmy

You forgot “take it or leave it”.

GoGoSoxFan

Good point lj! I’ll never make a good GM, just not creative enough.

tommytwonines

Cease and Giolito and pray for tornado.

comment image

That rhymes Marge, and you know it rhymes. Admit it!

5742mail

Will Palka Batting average reach.010 or below.

GrinnellSteve

When I have children whose ages are greater than Palka’s slugging, he’s not having a good year. He should at least be able to slug my age.