(670 The Score) Longtime first baseman Jose Abreu’s exit from the White Sox may have been inevitable, but it didn’t make it any easier to digest on the South Side on Tuesday as the Astros introduced him in Houston after he inked a three-year contract.
Abreu had been the heart and soul of the White Sox for the past nine seasons, over which he was a three-time All-Star and won the American League MVP award in 2020.
"It's obviously a difficult day from an emotional standpoint and a fan’s standpoint when you see a franchise icon don a different uniform like Jose did today,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday on a Zoom call. “It’s not something anyone ever really envisioned seeing. The realities of the business side dictate that some things like this sometimes happen. I was foolishly on Twitter earlier today seeing pictures of (Mark) Buehrle in a Marlins uniform, (Robin) Ventura in a Mets uniform, Frank (Thomas) in an A's uniform and (Joe) Crede wearing a Twins uniform. It looks weird and feels uncomfortable. I take solace that the other guys are still considered a part of the White Sox family, and I will say I think Jose's place in the history of the White Sox is secure.”
Abreu’s exit was spurred in large part by the White Sox’s desire to move 24-year-old Andrew Vaughn to first base after he played out of position in the outfield across the past two seasons. Hahn didn’t share details on whether the White Sox made an offer to Abreu. Abreu will make $60 million across three seasons with the Astros, according to reports.
“Intellectually, I knew this day could happen,” Hahn said of Abreu’s departure. "Objectively, it certainly all makes sense for two separate organizations given their needs and fits. It was about who was available on these rosters, to make contract offers that are different. From a fans standpoint in me, it's a shock to the system.
“Honestly, it's lousy. It may make all the sense in the world objectively, it's still a shock to the system. You get that and feel that. I would be in the wrong line of work if I didn't feel that.”
With Abreu gone, the White Sox are confident in what Vaughn can provide them.
"There is no secret to the fact we are very bullish on Andrew Vaughn’s future,” Hahn said. “It's also no secret we asked a lot of this player the last couple of years in terms of his advancement and playing him out of position. Ultimately, we feel we will be a stronger club if we don't have players playing out of position. Again, objectively, you can look at the roster and say it makes sense to have Andrew installed at first base. Maybe we will have Gavin Sheets get some opportunities there as well. But it doesn't remove the emotional side of this. That is what we all are kind of dealing with for the portion of the day. After that, we deal with trying to improve this roster, knowing first base is not a need with Andrew being present.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.