White Sox, Abreu reach deal to avoid arbitration

White Sox, Abreu reach deal to avoid arbitration

CHICAGO -- The White Sox have agreed to terms with first baseman Jose Abreu on a one-year, $10.825 million deal, thereby avoiding arbitration.

Abreu, 29, came to the White Sox via a six-year, $68 million contract prior to the 2014 season. But he opted into arbitration and out of the last three guaranteed years this current offseason, still leaving the White Sox with player control but potentially going year by year. Abreu would have earned $10.5 million in '17 as part of that original deal.

In 2016, Abreu batted .293 with 100 RBIs, 25 home runs, 32 doubles and an .820 OPS. He recorded a third consecutive season of 30-plus doubles, 25-plus home runs and 100-plus RBIs to start his career, the first player in White Sox history to accomplish that feat. He also became the seventh player in Major League history to record 100 or more RBIs in each of his first three seasons, joining Joe DiMaggio (1936-42), Hideki Matsui (2003-05), Albert Pujols (2001-10), Al Simmons (1924-34), Pinky Whitney (1928-30) and Ted Williams (1939-49; did not play from 1943-45).

During this three-year span, Abreu ranks among the American League leaders in RBIs (5th, 308), total bases (5th, 932), extra-base hits (7th, 198), slugging percentage (8th, .515), OPS (9th, .875), average (T9th, .299) and home runs (10th). His 91 homers are tied for 10th in history by a player over his first three big league seasons.

A current rebuild by the White Sox leaves Abreu as a trade candidate, along with numerous other veterans with diminished team control on the roster. There were reports that the White Sox talked with the Rockies about Abreu earlier in the offseason.

But after the White Sox acquired fellow Cuban countryman Yoan Moncada in the Chris Sale trade, Abreu issued comments through the team praising Moncada's talent and explaining how he looked forward to mentoring the game's top prospect. Those were comments befitting more of a team leader as opposed to a player who felt as if he would be traded.

Then again, that status can change almost instantly depending on the return being offered.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.