Sox will check out Abreu
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter September 11, 2013 10:23PM
Updated: September 11, 2013 11:00PM
The White Sox desperately need offense, and, after enduring a disappointing season that has lots of disgruntled fans thinking twice about renewing season tickets, they might want to consider getting in on the Jose Abreu sweepstakes whenever they begin.
Abreu, 26, is the highly touted Cuban slugging first baseman who, if he can clear necessary residency and paperwork hurdles, is expected to hold a showcase to gauge interest. Sox executive vice president Ken Williams didn’t rule it out when asked about Abreu and a likely $50 million (or more) price tag last month.
Williams said he needed to see more. Marco Paddy, special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn in charge of international operations, will attend the showcase when it happens.
“All teams would have to be interested, but it depends on the evaluation of Marco and our other scouts if he’s worth what he’s going to ask for,’’ Sox assistant GM Buddy Bell said Wednesday. “The guy can hit, though, man.’’
The Sox shed $27 million alone off next year’s payroll by dealing Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, so cash shouldn’t be an issue if the Sox believe he can be a star.
“You never really know what the level of competition is there,’’ Bell said. “[But Dodgers star Yasiel] Puig and [Athletics star Yoenis] Cespedes, they just stepped right in, didn’t they? They must have been playing pretty good competition.
“[Cubans] play the game at a different speed over there. They’ve been playing baseball out of the womb. They’re really able to slow the game down more than any group of players I’ve seen. They just play with confidence and never seem to panic.’’
Manager Robin Ventura said the Sox’ poor play is not related to a lack of motivation or veterans playing out the string. Their play, after all, has been bad all season. All along, Ventura has been satisfied with his team’s preparation and effort.
“No,’’ Ventura said. “These guys all come ready to play. It hasn’t been a lack of effort or focus. The guys who are older are professional, and they come ready to play.’’
Too many call-ups?
The Sox have 31 players in uniform; others have more. Anyone on the 40-man roster can play this month. Is it too many? “Declaring 30 for that game is something to look into for the future,’’ Ventura said. “Call up as many as you want but have 30 active and pick different ones that night.’’