And just like that, Jose Abreu became part of the old guard. He may yet be a part of the rebuilding and let's hope contending team in a couple of years, but that is no longer as sure as it seemed four years ago. Don't get me wrong, Abreu is a good player, but his game has seen some decline since 2014. What will it look like in 2019 or 2020 is a fair question. Will the White Sox be willing to pay up for a player who will be 33 in 2020? I'm not so sure. That is assuming that Abreu isn't traded before then. In 2014 or 2015, that was practically unthinkable. Now, especially after the Sale trade, that isn't an automatic non-starter.
Much like the Sale situation, I would hope that the White Sox would consider trading Abreu if it meant he would have a chance to play in the post-season. Not only has Abreu never been in a pennant race, he hasn't been on a winning team in his professional career. I'm sure come July there will be a contender or two that could use an infusion of offense that Abreu would provide. And this year would generate the greatest return for the White Sox. Each year, the value of Abreu as a trade piece goes down. If the White Sox wait until his final year, I'm afraid the other teams won't be as forthcoming, especially if he is showing further decline.
It's a cruel business, this baseball. In 2014, Abreu was Rookie of the Year, coming into a 2015 campaign that was full of promise. The White Sox acquired Jeff Samardzija, Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera. By the end of last season it was apparent to everyone that the White Sox needed a sea change. Abreu is no longer a cornerstone to build around, but is looking more and more like a steward for a team in transition.