El Capítan is back, ready to supercharge a stronger Chicago offense. (YouTube)
Though there were rumored extension talks leading up to Thursday’s 4 p.m. Central deadline, ultimately José Abreu took the simple and lucrative route, accepting a $17.8 million qualifying offer from the White Sox to return for the 2020 season.
It’s somewhat of a no-lose situation for the White Sox. While Abreu gets the biggest yearly salary of his career, the club is not locked in to a second or third year in case Abreu struggles at the plate in 2020. And even if Abreu duplicates his impressive 33-homer, 123-RBI 2019 campaign, the White Sox might be ready to hand the first-base keys over to Andrew Vaughn (or Gavin Sheets, or Zack Collins) in 2021.
Obviously, Abreu is betting hard on himself for 2020. If he is derailed by injury or even a prolonged slump, his already-tight market (as a DH in first baseman’s clothing, who must play the field to hit well) shrinks and drops offers well below any $10 million per year and up offers in the future.
In case Abreu wins his bet on himself and misfortune befalls the White Sox corps of future 1Bs, the South Siders could find themselves in a precarious position a year from now. With the club unable to make another qualifying offer, Abreu’s market will open up; opposing clubs averse to losing a draft pick for signing Abreu might open up the pocketbook a bit wider to snag him. It’s worth looking at offers to 2020 free agents like Yasmani Grandal or Hyun-Jin Ryu to detect any upticks in offers that come because a future first round pick is no longer in play.
However it plays from here, it’s great to have Abreu back for 2020. Here’s hoping he has the firepower in front of him to make a run at consecutive RBI titles!