With the trade deadline less than a month away, and the White Sox in the mix of a rebuild, first baseman Jose Abreu's future with the Souther Siders is up for debate.
This season, Abreu is batting .259 with an OPS of .766, which are both on pace for career lows. However, in his MLB career Abreu has always tallied 100 RBIs and slugged .500 three times, according to baseballreference.com. He is also under contract until 2019.
So what benefits would a Jose Abreu trade include?
Could be a lucrative trade
If you have been keeping up to date with All-Star voting, you’ll see Jose Abreu is the best of the best in the AL. He leads all AL first baseman in votes, and there is little competition. One AL first baseman on the ballot is batting over .290 and zero have more RBIs than Abreu.
Teams looking to solidify their first base ranks have few options this season, as most prized first baseman are on contending teams. Reds first baseman Joey Votto or Abreu appear to be the most likely trade candidates, and Votto is currently under the largest contract in Reds history.
The Sox can demand more for Abreu than they might be able too next season.
You weren’t going to build around him
At 31 Abreu will only play a supporting role in the White Sox rebuild. Not to say he is bad, but his age prevents him from being a player the Sox can build the future around. It would be a stretch to expect Abreu to play another 8-10 years in the league.
By the time the Sox become successful he could see a reduction in his numbers further reducing his role when the team becomes a playoff contender.
Every trade matters
The Cubs sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to Baltimore for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Abreu this season is more productive and has a higher upside than both players the Cubs sent over.
If White Sox general manager Rick Hahn wants to rebuild to be done as soon as possible, he must take advantage of these opportunities.
Abreu may bring enticing opportunities, but then again there are reasons to keep him in town.
Every championship caliber team has a veteran player helping the youth in the club house. The Astros had Carlos Beltran or Justin Verlander, the Cubs had David Ross and the Royals had Ben Zobrist.
It is also important to note there are few better clubhouse guys than Abreu. He he is well received in Chicago and knows players such as Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada better than any other major leaguer.
He’s not that old
With excitement brewing around top prospect Eloy Jimenez, and the everyday spectacle of the 25-year-old Tim Anderson or the 23-year-old Yoan Moncada, the 31-year-old Jose Abreu seems like a dinosaur. But in reality Abreu could be only 35 during a Sox playoff runs, the same age as Ben Zobrist when he signed with the Cubs, or Justin Verlander when the Astros made the switch at the trade deadline.
He may not be someone to build the franchise around, but Abreu could have some staying power in the coming years.
There may not be a suitable replacement
Of the top 10 prospects in the White Sox farm system, zero are first baseman, according to MLB.com. And in the top 30 prospects only two are first baseman—Gavin Sheets (11) and Justin Yurchak (28).
When looking at potential trading partners four teams offer up a first baseman in MLB.com’s top 100 prospects. Of those three teams—Astros, Rays and Mets—the Rays and Astros are looking to acquire top talent, but may not be on the market for a first baseman. Making the odds of replenishing first base talent slim through trade channels this season.