One of the most active teams in the trade market leading up to it, the White Sox sat out the last day before the non-waiver trade deadline Monday.
At least one of them, Jose Abreu, was relieved to have it behind him.
“Yes,’’ Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. “Definitely it is a relief. Because we don’t like to be traded. We don’t like to change teams.’’
A slew of deals left general manager Rick Hahn’s stash of trade chips in short supply, so there wasn’t much deadline drama for the Sox. Abreu has value, but not like dealtaways Chris Sale and Jose Quintana and was not expected to go.
But as a veteran leader, he is very much aware of the stress level in the Sox clubhouse and how the trades affected everyone.
“From now on we can be more focused on the game,’’ Abreu said, “with less distractions and fewer rumors. It’s going to be calmer now. We can keep doing what we’re supposed to do and not pay attention to rumors.’’
Pitchers like Miguel Gonzalez, a capable but inconsistent right-handed starter, might have some limited trade value in a waiver trade in August. Jose Abreu and injured right fielder Avisail Garcia would have more value, but the market at their positions was far from robust, and the Sox have reasons, including contractual, to keep both.
Abreu is a leader whose locker is, for good reason, next to fellow Cuban and No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada’s.
Abreu looks around a clubhouse and roster staggered by trades and knows he needs to stand tall.
“The last two weeks were difficult,’’ he said. “We had to say goodbye to good friends, people we’ve played together with for a long time. Good people. At the same time you have to get to know the new people who weren’t here before.
“But the organization has a plan and they’re executing the plan as they see fit according to their goals. And that’s something to be glad about, following a line and plan. That’s good for us. The future is going to be good for this organization.’’
Starting with the All-Star break trade of Jose Quintana to the Cubs, the Sox went on a shipping-out binge that included Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees, Anthony Swarzak to the Brewers, Dan Jennings to the Rays and Melky Cabrera to the Royals.
Manager Rick Renteria was asked if he was relieved that the deadline has passed.
“A relief for me? They come and they go,’’ he said. “Obviously, we’ve had a lot of things go on over the course of this particular time frame … everything is kind of settling down.’’
On the plus side, the Sox haul of prospects that started with the winter trades of Chris Sale and Adem Eaton leaves them boasting eight of the top 67 according to MLB.com, seven of whom who were acquired in trades: Moncada, Eloy Jimenez Michael Kopech, Blake Rutherford Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease. The Sox also signed Cuban free agent Luis Robert, ranked 26th, and have their own recent first-round picks such as Jake Burger and Zack Collins bolstering their prospect supply.
Another result is having 11 of 25 players on the Opening Day roster and a 40-62 record dragged down by losses in 14 of their last 16 games as they open a three-game home series against the Blue Jays Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Abreu wants to see the plan through to the end.
“I hope [I am not traded],’’ he said. “I would like to stay here through the whole process. I’ll always play for this organization. I love this organization. The people who are here. I love the city. I know – I really know – and am confident that the future is bright for us, that we’ll be competing and winning a lot of games. This will be good for us. When it all comes together, I hope to be here, too.’’