First baseman Jose Abreu is heading back to the Chicago White Sox after accepting the qualifying offer, but was that the right decision for the veteran?
With the deadline to decide whether or not to take the qualifying offer from the Chicago White Sox looming, All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu was attempting to work out a long-term extension to stay with the only MLB team he had played for. It was no secret that Abreu had no desire to leave the White Sox, but the qualifying offer complicated things. If he elected to turn down the offer, Abreu would have been forced to enter free agency with the dark cloud of a lost draft pick hanging over his head.
Ultimately, Abreu has elected to accept the qualifying offer and will be back with the White Sox for at least one more season.
This move leaves a bit of uncertainty over Abreu’s future, especially with the White Sox. The three-time All-Star will turn 33 in January, putting him on the wrong side of 30 at a time when few teams are interested in offering long-term deals to the lumbering first baseman. What type of calculus went through the player and his agent’s head in accepting the qualifying offer?
There is still an entire offseason for the White Sox and Abreu to work out an extension beyond the 2020 season. He made the right call to lock in one year at close to $18 million because any long-term deal the White Sox were offering would have come in well short of that annual figure. There is also little reason for Abreu to believe he is entering a physical decline. He is coming off a year in which he hit .284/.330/.503 with 38 doubles, 33 home runs, and 123 RBI, a total that led the American League.
Unfortunately for Abreu, he was forced to bet on himself and accept the qualifying offer. He wants to be in Chicago, but whether or not the White Sox are as serious about committing remains to be seen. Abreu will now have to turn in another strong season to give himself another chance to seek a multi-year deal in Chicago. One fluke injury could end his hopes of finding little more than an incentive-laden deal with a minimal base salary.
Had Abreu declined the qualifying offer, he would have given all the leverage to the White Sox, who aren’t showing signs of being extremely willing to reward his loyalty through the bulk of the rebuilding years. The White Sox would have been able to low-ball him, knowing that there were no suitors lining up to hand him a three-year deal. Abreu may have left some guaranteed money on the table by locking in this one-year deal, but he can now go forward having taken a little more control over his own fate over the final years of his career.