By avoiding arbitration, the Chicago White Sox and Jose Abreu might make it simpler for teams interested in trading for him this offseason. The Colorado Rockies seem to be the only ones interested.
With the White Sox trying to move almost everyone of value (Chris Sale and Adam Eaton are gone), it’s not surprising to see them try to clear up the situation with Abreu, although it doesn’t mean he’s actually on the trading block. You may want to think of it as the Cincinnati Reds situation: They traded pretty much everyone they could, but they did hang on to Joey Votto. Abreu is on an easier deal to move than Votto’s, but he could be part of the group the White Sox will build around.
As for interest in the soon-to-be-30 first baseman, the Colorado Rockies are the only team with present intent. Abreu isn’t a very good defensive player even at first base, but he continues to be a fantastic hitter, although his power numbers continue to slid after a terrific 2014. He finished with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs last season, batting .293 and posting a .468 SLG, while his OPS dropped to .820. He also recorded his lower WAR in 2016, 2.8.
Abreu opted out of three years and $34 million last month, which meant his next salaries would be decided by arbitration. He made $11.6 million in 2016. He’ll end up making $10.8 million on a one-season deal, which is probably less than what he would have made in arbitration, but sets him up to become a free agent and receive a lot more money than before in 2018. It also open him up to a lot more trades offers than before, which might be something the White Sox are interested in. The White Sox are also probably fearing some sort of decline, and so moving away from the arbitration formula which would have made him very expensive in the future works well for them, especially in their win later, rebuild now thought process.