CHICAGO – At this rate, José Abreu won’t have to sign himself to a new contract.
The White Sox’s veteran first baseman is a free agent at season’s end, and Abreu wants to stay put so bad he’s been joking about cutting out the front office and doing his own deal.
But as the Sox take the next step of the rebuild in 2020 and move into winning team mode, they’ve likely already determined they will be much more potent with Abreu’s steady bat back in the No. 3 hole.
“He’s the ultimate pro,” acting manager Joe McEwing said after the Sox lost to the Angels, 8-7, on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. “Every day he shows up at the ballpark with his lunch pail and goes about his business the right way. What he means to that clubhouse, our lineup, our club every single day, it just makes everyone around him better.”
Nearing the end of his sixth season with the Sox, Abreu had a pretty typical night’s work against Los Angeles.
After hitting a sacrifice fly in the first inning, the 32-year-old slugger launched a three-run homer in the seventh inning to make it a one-run game.
With 30 home runs on the season and 111 RBIs, which leads the American League and is a career high, Abreu has put himself into some select Sox company.
Only four players in franchise history have four or more seasons with 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs – Abreu and Magglio Ordonez with four each, Paul Konerko with five and Frank Thomas with eight.
“It’s very special because this is the result of the work you put in day in and day out,” Abreu said through a translator. “It’s the result of all the people around you helping you. My family, just having their support. This is basically for them, too.”
Before his 30th homer of the year, Abreu was hit by pitches from Los Angeles starter Andrew Heaney in consecutive at-bats.
“It’s baseball,” he said. “That’s part of the game. I’m at peace with life. I enjoy life. If that had to happen for me in order to hit that homer, welcome. But it hurts.”
Trout sighting: After exiting Friday night’s in the fifth inning with a sore toe, Angels star Mike Trout was not in the starting lineup Saturday.
The American League MVP favorite was able to pinch-hit in the ninth inning, with a runner on second base and two outs. Not surprisingly, McEwing called for an intentional walk. Trout trotted down to first base and promptly was lifted for pinch-runner Taylor Ward.