Rick Hahn discusses Jose Abreu's departure to Astros originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
On Tuesday, amidst announcing the team's coaching staff for the 2023 season under newly hired manager Pedro Grifol, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn spoke about longtime first baseman Jose Abreu's departure to the Houston Astros.
"Obviously, it's always a difficult day from an emotional standpoint or from a fan standpoint, when you see a franchise icon don another uniform. It's a day that nobody really ever envisions seeing but the realities of the business side sometimes dictate that such things happen," Hahn said.
Abreu graced a Sox jersey for the first nine years of his career. During his time on the South Side, he earned three AL Rookie of the Year (2014), three All-Star nods, three Silver Slugger awards and the AL MVP award in 2020.
He is top ten in franchise history in career doubles and hits and top five in career RBIs and home runs. He recorded a career .292/.354/.506 at the plate.
Abreu signed with the world champions on a three-year deal worth around $60 million. He will replace the likes of Yuli Gurriel at first base.
The White Sox did make an offer to Abreu before he ultimately decided to sign with the Astros, but Hahn wouldn't get into details about a deal that never happened.
"You know me. I don’t want to talk about negotiations or offers," Hahn said. "We only talk about deals that happen. Intellectually, I knew this day was possible. Objectively, it certainly makes sense for two different organizations, given their respective needs and fits and who's available on their roster to make contract offers that are different."
Nevertheless, the Sox must move forward.
The team is inhaling a new manager and coaching staff, which brought three returners back from the previous regime, including Ethan Katz, Curt Hasler and Daryl Boston.
Following Abreu's departure, Hahn mentioned the plan for first base going forward will be in the hands of Andrew Vaughn, who has played out of position due to a crowded roster of first basemen and designated hitters.
"We've made no secret of the fact that we're very bullish on Andrew Vaughn’s future and made no secret of the fact that we've asked a lot of this player over the last couple of years in terms of his advancement and playing him out of position," Hahn said.
"So again, objectively, you can look at the roster and feel like this obviously makes sense to have Andrew installed at first (base) and have Gavin Sheets perhaps get some opportunities there, occasionally perhaps Yasmani [Grandal]."
Vaughn is the correct answer, as far as replacing Abreu goes.
The sophomore finished his season this year slashing .271/.321/.429 from the plate. He hit the most home runs and RBIs on the team, and recorded the third-highest slugging percentage. Vaughn also recorded the second most hits on the team behind – guess who – Abreu.
Despite the promise of Vaughn's ceiling – as he heads into his third year in the majors next year – the team will certainly miss Abreu from a production and leadership standpoint.
"Jose's place in the White Sox family will remain secure here going forward," Hahn said. "But as the chairman said, his professionalism, his role in the clubhouse, the way he went about his business for the last nine seasons from the day we signed him is a testament to his character. An individual that remains an important part of the White Sox family going forward but will certainly be missed."
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