By Bruce Levine–
ORLANDO, Fla. (670 The Score) — Although the White Sox aren’t pushing their best players out of the door, they will listen intently to offers for slugging first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avisail Garcia as the Winter Meetings opened Monday.
The White Sox front office was crowned king of the 2016 Winter Meetings, making blockbuster deals that found new homes for left-hander Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton. While the moves this time around don’t figure to be as high-profile, the White Sox will be busy with discussions again.
“They will really have to make it worth they’re while this time around,” a high-ranking baseball official said when asked if the White Sox will deal Abreu and/or Garcia at the Winter Meetings. “They are in a good position with two outstanding players who could help someone win this season. They also can take their time in deciding if that is the prudent thing to do.”
The White Sox are in no hurry to trade Abreu or Garcia, and both are coming off terrific years. They each have two years of team control left before becoming free agents.
Manager Rick Renteria would like each to stay in Chicago, praising the leadership of both.
“I am biased on both Avisail and (Jose),” Renteria said on Inside the Clubhouse on 670 The Score on Saturday. “I have seen them grow and develop into top-tier major league baseball players. I think their impact in our clubhouse on the other players is significant. They would require (in return) a whole lot of talent that would impact our organization as a whole for a long time to come. I think what they bring currently impacts us now and possibly into the future. They do that by the way they carry themselves and the way they prepare. They are a voice in that clubhouse. If we are going to develop a particular identity for ourselves as we continue to chip away, it’s important to have people like that who have grown up in this organization. They offer a lot both on and off of the field. It takes a lot of voices in an organization to draw a sound conclusion of what you can or cannot do — or do or should not do with a player.”
Of course, Renteria knows he’s the ultimate voice for the White Sox over the course of a 162-game season, and he may have to become more involved if Abreu and/or Garcia exits in a trade.
“This job does require when things are being addressed and an issue must be dealt with, that it is on me,” Renteria said. “I am going to have to be the guy that has the conversation and try to drive us to a particular place. The manager is the ultimate voice at the end of the day. Leaders will develop through the experiences they have and how we as coaches and managers communicate with our players. The players must be allowed to grow and become leaders. They will make mistakes along the way. You must allow them to do so and learn as an individual and a group, as they seek a common goal.”
Abreu and Garcia won’t be the only focus for the White Sox at the Winter Meetings. They also need to fill upward of five bullpen slots after gutting the bullpen with in-season trades in 2017.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.