Abreu, 32, has spent his first six MLB seasons in Chicago after migrating to the United States from Cuba. He's coming off arguably the best season of his career, posting a .284/.330/.504 slash line with 33 home runs and an AL-high 123 runs batted in.
Once again one of the worst teams in the American League, the White Sox could have traded Abreu for a haul at the deadline. However, both sides remained committed to one another, with the plan of the White Sox competing in 2020.
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf repeatedly told Abreu he would remain with the franchise as long as he wants.
"Jerry, several times, has told me and my family that I am not going to wear a jersey other than a White Sox jersey," Abreu told the Sun-Times' Daryl Van Schouwen. "I believe him. I believe in his word. And like I said, I’m very happy with and loyal to this organization. Hopefully, everything is going to pan out."
Abreu accepting the qualifying offer is a little surprising but represents his overarching desire to stay in Chicago. It's possible the White Sox would have chosen to not match a long-term contract offer if he found one that approached nine figures. Given the White Sox's decision to extend the qualifying offer, though, it's equally possible Abreu would have been in store for a long winter as teams hesitate about giving up draft picks.
We saw numerous high-profile free agents linger on the market longer than anyone expected last winter, with pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel lasting well into the regular season. Accepting the $17.9 million guarantees Abreu money now while giving both parties a chance to see if the White Sox make an expected improvement in 2020.