Heading into free agency last fall, Jose Abreu made no secret that he wanted to remain with the White Sox, and he told reporters (including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune) that he didn’t even talk to any other clubs during his brief time on the open market. “My family is good in Chicago. They love Chicago,” Abreu said. “They are really grateful and good and happy with the White Sox organization, just the way that the organization has treated them….For us, it didn’t make sense to look around to other places.” The Marlins were the only other team known to have have interest in Abreu last November, though it appears that interest didn’t manifest itself into any early negotiation with Abreu’s representatives.
There never seemed much chance that Abreu and the White Sox would part ways, given how GM Rick Hahn repeatedly spoke during the season about how much the team valued Abreu’s contributions on the field and in the Sox clubhouse. After Chicago extended a one-year, $17.8MM qualifying offer to Abreu, the first baseman ensured his continued stay on the South Side by accepting the offer, and then worked out a contract extension in November that runs through the 2022 season.
The latest from around the AL Central….
- While Abreu more or less sidestepped free agency entirely, the market wasn’t as kind to Cameron Maybin, who told the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky and other reporters that he received mostly minor league offers before finally landing a Major League deal from the Tigers. Maybin rebounded from a pair of subpar years to hit .285/.364/.494 with 11 home runs over 269 PA with the Yankees last season, but still found the process of obtaining a guaranteed contract to be “frustrating….I thought it would be easier to get a big-league job. I do feel like I’m a big-league talent, like I am big-league caliber.” Still, Maybin is happy to be back in Detroit for his third stint as a Tiger, and is eager to serve as a veteran mentor to a young team and prove that his 2019 performance wasn’t a fluke. Though Maybin turns 33 in April, “honestly, with my athleticism, I feel like I can play for another five years. Especially with this swing change.”
- Kyle Zimmer was given a fourth minor league option by the league, the Royals right-hander told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Players usually only have three option years, though a fourth option can sometimes be granted under certain circumstances — like, in Zimmer’s case, a wide range of injuries that have limited to just 341 total professional innings since being selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2012 draft. Zimmer was finally healthy in 2019 and made his MLB debut, making 15 relief appearances for Kansas City and posting a 10.80 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. With this fourth option year to work with, the Royals can now opt to start Zimmer in the minors to begin the season rather than potentially be forced into exposing him to waivers as an out-of-options player if they didn’t have a 26-man roster spot for him.