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Abreu staying focused on winning in 2019

First baseman entering sixth season on South Side, set for free agency after year
February 18, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- José Abreu dealt with questions ranging from his future, to the White Sox chances for an improved 2019 season, to the player and person that is Eloy Jiménez during his 11-minute media session Monday at Camelback Ranch.The White Sox first baseman was also asked about Manny Machado,

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- José Abreu dealt with questions ranging from his future, to the White Sox chances for an improved 2019 season, to the player and person that is Eloy Jiménez during his 11-minute media session Monday at Camelback Ranch.
The White Sox first baseman was also asked about Manny Machado, the premium free agent being pursued by the South Siders, Padres and Phillies, barring any other mystery teams entering the fray. But Abreu wasn't surprised by the inquiry.
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"Honestly, I think everyone in every organization is talking about him, just to have the chance to have him as a teammate or as a part of your organization," said Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "But we don't know where he is in his mind or his plan.
"We would like to have him, definitely. He's a very good ballplayer. But if we don't get him, I think we're going to be OK because we have guys with talent that can play and that help this team to win games. It would be very good for us to have him, but if we don't have him, then we will be good, too."
If Machado were to chose the White Sox, he would be part of the team well into their potential window of perennial championship contention, starting one or two years from now, as the organization enters Year 3 of its rebuild. Abreu's ties to the White Sox beyond the 2019 campaign are not yet known and might not be resolved until after the upcoming season.
This much is certain: The White Sox have great respect for Abreu, and that feeling is absolutely reciprocated. Even in his last year of White Sox contractual control, Abreu not surprisingly is more focused on the team's chances for success in '19, as opposed to locking down a long-term deal.
"I'm excited because this year we're in a good position to compete," said Abreu, who has 146 home runs, 488 RBIs, a .295 average and an .869 OPS over five seasons with the White Sox. "We have a lot of talent. We're getting ready for the point where we're going to be a pretty good team.
"This can be that year where we start showing what we can do. I am excited also because I know the quality of people we have here. I just want to get on the field and play and show all the people what we can do.
"I would like to stay with this organization forever," Abreu said. "But that is one of the things that I can't control right now."
White Sox manager Rick Renteria didn't want to entertain the slightest possibility of the White Sox minus Abreu.
"My goodness. I'm not even thinking about that," Renteria said. "That's way too far away for me to even speculate on. We all love Pito. He does a great job. And I see Pito as a White Sock."
Adding Yonder Alonso, Abreu's friend and fellow Cuban countryman, also means that Abreu could see more time at designated hitter as they split innings between that spot and first base. A smiling Abreu said Monday, in English, "I don't like DH," but he also stated he's ready to do whatever the team needs.

Whether that lineup includes Machado remains to be seen. Abreu certainly did his part, pitching Machado on the team back in December.
"It was an outstanding conversation," Abreu said. "Ricky and I talked to him. We talked to him about the organization, our plan, what we want to accomplish here.
"He got it. He understood it. Right now, it's just see and wait what his decision's going to be. We talked with him, and he was open, we were open to all his questions. We answered them. It was a very, very good conversation."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.