One player that I included in the chart for the first of my “Big Money for Little Time” articles but didn’t really mention was Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu. Abreu made his first appearance in a spring game yesterday and went oh for two against the Dodgers but showed a lot patience, seeing 11 pitches over the two at bats.
Hopefully, his patience and the work ethic that he demonstrated by heading to the weight room after he was finished his on-field work for the afternoon will help pay dividends for the White Sox who took a big risk signing the 27-year-old Cuban to a six-year, $68 million contract.
At 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, Abreu offers some power at first base as slugger Paul Konerko enters his final year. In the past four seasons, Abreu has been dominant in the Cuban professional league, hitting .392 with 133 home runs and 278 walks and demonstrating a unique combination of average, power and patience.
While it’s hard to tell exactly how his skills and proficiency in the Cuban league will translate in the major leagues, Abreu clearly understands that he can only control his preparation and appears to be ready to make that commitment. Doug Padilla of ESPN.com quotes Abreu as saying, “That’s all I control for now is preparation. That’s what I’m doing right now.”
With some very strong ML debuts from his countrymen like Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu is looking to make the same kind of impression. While he might not have the overall athleticism of Cespedes or the defensive ability of Puig, he brings a more mature combination of hitting skills to the South Side of Chicago for the 2014 season.