End of the line for Sox's Abreu? 'I don't like goodbyes'

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Jose Abreu isn't looking too far ahead, but the star first baseman knows Wednesday afternoon's game against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field might be his last in a White Sox uniform.

    Jose Abreu isn't looking too far ahead, but the star first baseman knows Wednesday afternoon's game against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field might be his last in a White Sox uniform. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 10/4/2022 11:22 PM

Before Tuesday night's game against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field, Jose Abreu was stuck on repeat.

A free agent after the regular season ends on Wednesday, the White Sox's first baseman was asked about his future.

 

"I'm a White Sox right now and I'll be a White Sox tomorrow," Abreu said through translator Billy Russo. "We'll see."

Do you want to come back to the Sox next season?

"Like I said, I am a White Sox," Abreu said. "I'll be a White Sox tomorrow. We'll see."

There's a good reason why Abreu is reluctant to look beyond Wednesday.

"I don't like goodbyes," he said. "Again, I'm going to enjoy this. I'm going to be a White Sox tomorrow, too, and then we'll go from there."

Abreu was 1-for-3 in the Sox's 8-3 win over Minnesota Tuesday. Elvis Andrus hit a 3-run homer and starting pitcher Lucas Giolito gave up 2 runs over 7 innings.

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After the game, manager Miguel Cairo said Abreu is not going to be in the starting lineup for Wednesday's final game.

"He just wants to be on the bench with me," Cairo said. "He's just going to sit with me. He told me, 'I will sit with you.' I'm going to tell you, he deserves that. He played almost every game this year and so it's going to be a little different."

If the 35-year-old Abreu doesn't return next year, he'll be remembered as one of the best hitters to ever wear a Sox uniform.

Heading into Tuesday's play, Abreu ranked third in franchise history with 243 home runs and a .506 slugging percentage, fourth with an .860 OPS, fifth with 863 RBI and 561 extra-base hits, sixth with 302 doubles and seventh with 2,507 total bases.

"I remember playing against him on the other side," White Sox closer Liam Hendriks said. "It's such an annoying at-bat because he takes some really bad swings and then you throw the exact same pitch and he hits an absolute missile. That's something that is really hard to adapt to.

"I think from a leadership point of view, I think from a defensive, from an offensive point of view, I think he's an integral part of this team. I hope we bring him back, but that's the higher ups and then whatever he decides as well."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

When asked is he is going to continue playing after this season, Abreu said: "Claro!"

"Of course," he said, acting as his own translator. "I love baseball. I love the game even more now than when I started."

Abreu joined the Sox on a six-year, $68 million contract before the 2014 season after playing 10 years in his native Cuba.

He pushed hard for his latest deal, which was $50 million over three years.

"I'm just thankful and loyal to (White Sox chairman) Jerry (Reinsdorf)," Abreu said. "He gave me the opportunity to play here and I appreciate that. I always will be grateful for that opportunity."

Abreu made a run at the American League batting title this season, but his home run (15) and RBI (75) totals are way down.

Considering he is blocking two natural first basemen on the roster -- Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets -- there has been growing speculation that Abreu is going to be with a new team in 2023.

"How it fits going forward, that remains to be seen come this offseason," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "Obviously, there's only so many different ways that you can fit various players on the roster and Jose returning would have a ripple effect on others. But we'll have to wait to see how things unfold and make those decisions accordingly."

There have been no contract talks between Abreu and the Sox yet, so Wednesday's season finale should be emotional for a player that was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2014 and the MVP in 2020.

Abreu said it's been a "very frustrating" season for the White Sox, but he'll always have fond memories of his time on the South Side.

"I want to thank them (fans) for all the support, for always having my back," Abreu said. "These were a special nine years and I hope that there can be more. But up to now it's been very special and I'm going to be forever grateful for them."

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