By: Mark Lester
For six years now, the White Sox have been mediocre at best and terrible at worst. For a team where it’s been almost impossible to look on the bright side for so many seasons, a constant positive since 2014 has been AL RoY and All-Star first-baseman José Abreu. He has about 20 career WAR and a career slash of .294/.353/.516. This year, he bounced back from a slow start to the year and is currently leading the AL in RBIs with 33 after only a month of play. Meanwhile, his team is 16-19 and pretty much has no chance at competing for a playoff spot. Any sportswriter could put this one together: possible trade? Definitely. Granted, it doesn’t seem likely considering the White Sox front office hasn’t let him go yet and have spoken very highly of him. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t speculate where he could possibly be traded if the opportunity presented itself. I believe that these two sites are the most likely places, and the only ones, where I believe José Abreu will be traded if the White Sox feel so inclined. I know it’s not fun to have only two teams, but I believe that these two are the ones who, finding themselves in sudden playoff contention, are the most likely to swing a trade that puts them at the forefront of the AL playoff conversation.
Tampa Bay Rays:
This is easily the most likely one. Even though the Rays won 90 games this year, many are still somewhat surprised that they’ve been so good thus far, leading the AL East by 1.5 games over the Yankees and having the second highest winning percentage in the AL. Their first baseman Ji-Man Choi is usually a solid bat, and this year’s no different thus far. But he’s no José Abreu. Abreu has would not only be an upgrade to the roster, but would also be a valuable veteran presence on a team that’s the 4th youngest in the AL. Though he’s only in his sixth year, the higher ups on the White Sox have already praised him for being a leader and mentor for the younger guys on the Sox roster. Trading for him exchange for prospects would be a move that would put the give the Rays a huge boost in their chances to continue being the favorite in the AL East, and perhaps even set them on course for the AL pennant.
Remember how I said the Rays had the second highest winning percentage in the AL? They’re not being beat out by the Astros or Indians, as some would assume. The Minnesota Twins currently hold the top spot in the American League. I, along with almost every other human being, didn’t expect such a hot start for the Twins, and I still don’t think they’ll be able to keep up their amazing pace thus far. However, they’re still legitimate playoff contenders in my opinion, based alone on how good they’ve done this first month of the year. CJ Cron, Twins first baseman as of right now, isn’t doing bad to start the year, with 23 RBIs, 9 home runs, and 0.8 WAR. But, once again, he’s no José Abreu. His batting average, OBP, OPS, and home run and RBI count don’t hold a candle to Abreu. Over their equally long careers, Abreu has 19.7 WAR over Cron’s 5.4. Cron is a solid player, but if the Twins prove themselves to be a serious contender, a trade for Abreu would have the potential to not only get them to the playoffs this year, but also keep them from declining as rapidly as they did in 2018.