Eloy Jiménez has a deflating outlook on White Sox replacing José Abreu in the lineup.
After going 81-81 and finishing second in the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox are far from a lock to enter the upcoming season any better than they were last year.
On the pitching side of things, Johnny Cueto left the team in favor of the Miami Marlins. On offense, each of A.J. Pollock (Mariners) and José Abreu (Astros) signed elsewhere.
Andrew Benintendi was brought aboard to be the club’s everyday left fielder but even he does not come close to the offensive production that the team lost, especially from Abreu.
Eloy Jiménez, the White Sox star outfielder, recently spoke with reporters and does not sound confident that the club will be able to easily replace Abreu’s production.
White Sox: Eloy Jiménez doesn’t think José Abreu can be replaced
Well that certainly does not sound promising.
Abreu, 35, is getting up there in age but remains one of the best offensive first basemen in the game today. Last season in 157 games, he hit 15 home runs and drove in 75, posting a .304 batting average and a 133 OPS+ along the way.
His defense has begun to dip a bit with age but he is still a trustworthy option to man first base on a regular basis, not that he will be able to DH must in Houston anyway with the presences of Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez.
Jiménez has a point, there’s not an easy pick to replace Abreu’s production in the lineup. Star shortstop Tim Anderson is still young and is one of the most exciting players in the game. If he is able to stay healthy for a full season, there’s no telling what he’d be able to do for the Sox.
The same exact thing can be said for Luis Robert, the White Sox’s 25-year-old center fielder whose potential is sky-high. He has looked incredible throughout bits and pieces of three seasons in the bigs, but has yet to play over 100 games in a year due to an unusually high number of injuries.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the same thing can also be said for Jiménez himself. The 26-year-old has shown immense promise since he debuted in 2019 but has only appeared in 100+ games one time. Last season, he hit 16 home runs and drove in 54 in just 84 games, posting a 140 OPS+.
The issue is not a lack of talent on this White Sox crew, it’s the fact that most of these players have been made of glass in recent years. If Anderson, Robert and Jiménez are able to stay healthy, there’s no reason this offense can’t be one of the best in the American League.