Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf assures Jose Abreu he’ll always be a member of the White Sox
“Jerry [Reinsdorf] several times has told me and my family that I am not going to wear a jersey other than a White Sox jersey,” Abreu said. “I believe him; I believe in his word.”
MINNEAPOLIS — First baseman Jose Abreu and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf are kindred spirits. Both are loyal to the utmost degree, which is why there should be no doubt that Abreu’s fiercely expressed desire to return to the White Sox will become a reality.
Reinsdorf, who made Abreu’s dream come true when he signed him to a six-year, $68 million contract in November 2013, has grown to love Abreu the person and Abreu the three-time All-Star player.
‘‘Jerry several times has told me and my family that I am not going to wear a jersey other than a White Sox jersey,’’ Abreu told the Sun-Times through a translator Wednesday. ‘‘I believe him; I believe in his word. And, like I said, I’m very happy with and loyal to this organization. Hopefully everything is going to pan out.’’
Abreu can enter free agency after the season, but a multiyear extension is likely in the works. General manager Rick Hahn, who repeatedly has expressed the Sox’ affection for Abreu and his value as a leader in the clubhouse, has indicated it likely would occur after the season. With fellow Cuban stars Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert carving niches in the organization, Abreu’s example of character and work ethic have been duly noted.
At 32, Abreu’s .276/.316/.499 hitting line is notches below his consistently strong career norms, but he has 28 home runs and collected his 95th and 96th RBI in the Sox’ 4-0 victory Wednesday. He almost certainly will become the fourth Sox player to record four seasons of 30 homers and 100 RBI, joining Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko and Magglio Ordonez. He’s on pace for 123 RBI.
Abreu was asked to cite a handful of his top career moments, and aside from hitting for the cycle in 2017 — for which Reinsdorf honored him with a plaque — he said there was no point, having played for six losing teams.
One moment stands alone, however.
‘‘That day I signed with the White Sox,’’ he said. ‘‘That day because it made my family’s dream come true. It was the happiest day for me and my family. That was the day I was working for — to be here, play here and make my mom happy.
‘‘From that day on, she has been the happiest person on earth, and that’s all I could ask for. Nothing could top that. To see my mom happy? Nothing.’’
Abreu has been saying with tongue in cheek that he will ‘‘sign myself’’ if the Sox don’t re-sign him, and he says his fierce loyalty toward the organization stems from what his mother, father and grandparents taught him.
‘‘The real value of life,’’ he said. ‘‘Loyalty and honesty are those qualities. This organization made my mom’s dream and my dream come true. We are here; my family is here. I am who I am right now because of this organization, and for me that’s what matters. That comes from my family. They taught me that, and it stood with me.’’
Perhaps when Abreu signs his next deal, he and Reinsdorf, who loves a good cigar, will share a good Cuban one.
‘‘I don’t see him too often because he knows his role,’’ Abreu said. ‘‘You don’t see him in the clubhouse or close to the guys. He knows our space. But anytime I have a chance to talk to him, it’s special. It’s an honor to talk to him because he is such a great person. And you can feel it, you can sense that.’’
Abreu said he has given Reinsdorf cigars in the past.
‘‘He loved it,’’ Abreu said.
We’ll assume they weren’t cheap ones.
‘‘No, no, no,’’ Abreu said, laughing. ‘‘I can’t do that. If I give him something bad, he’s going to send me back.’’
Not likely. The only place Abreu seems headed is to his home away from home with the Sox.