White Sox face key offseason with veteran bats

Abreu, Garcia coming off impressive seasons at the plate

White Sox face key offseason with veteran bats

The White Sox goal to build for the future has not changed since last season. There is a fundamental difference, though.

"Unlike a year ago when we had seven, eight, nine, 10 guys potentially more on shorter-term control and not necessarily fitting into our long-term plans," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said at the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, "we now have a far fewer number of players under that short-term control."

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Two years of control stood as the talking point for Hahn on Monday, with the 2020 season standing as the unofficial planned time for White Sox prime contention. That period gives their high-end prospects plenty of time to develop.

Hahn's biggest decisions for this offseason fall upon first baseman Jose Abreu and right fielder Avisail Garcia, which he spoke about Monday. The team has to decide whether to extend the duo, its top run producers from this past season, to make them a firm part of its rebuild, or try to add to their young pool of talent by moving one or both. Both Abreu and Garcia have two more years of club control.

Abreu, who turns 31 right before Spring Training, has registered at least a .290 batting average, 25 home runs and 100 RBIs in each of his first four Major League seasons. Garcia, 26, made his first All-Star appearance in 2017 and registered career highs in doubles (27), home runs (18), RBIs (80), batting average (.330) and OPS (.885).

Abreu nominated for Hank Aaron Award

But for all the rightful attention the White Sox received last offseason, two players were moved in All-Star pitcher Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton. More trades took place during the season, showing patience is essential during the White Sox rebuild.

"We had a bunch of guys who would end up getting moved over the course of last season who had the right deal come along last December or January, we might have jumped on it," Hahn said. "It didn't materialize.

"It's the same case with any player right now that is controlled for the next two years. We don't have to make that decision this offseason. See what the market is now, see more about the performance, see how some of the players in our system perform and conceivably revisit the market come next July, which is a different market as we saw last year."

Jimenez soon done with winter baseball
Eloy Jimenez, the White Sox No. 1 prospect and No. 4 overall according to MLBPipeline.com, soon will be done with his winter ball in the Dominican Republic, according to Hahn, as planned going into his competition. Jimenez has a .365 average with four homers and 20 RBIs over 17 games and will be part of the White Sox hitters minicamp in January in Arizona.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.