TCS Morning 5: Jose Abreu saw his son again

(Note: His son is not Adam Eaton)

1. The dark shadow hanging over Jose Abreu's first in-depth interview with Chicago Magazine before the 2015 season, was the revelation that he had been unable to bring his two-year-old son with him from Cuba when he defected. Abreu's arrival in Chicago was something the entire fanbase had yearned for, to some degree, years before it came to fruition in a 2014 season that exceeded everyone's dreams. Yet in what seemed like a victory lap, Abreu revealed that his family had been torn apart, and the euphoria his presence brought to the franchise was colored by the terrible weight he was enduring to bring it. 

It's not a permanent fix to that situation, but it's a warmer feeling that an unprecedented goodwill tour to Cuba allowed Abreu to see his son again for the first time, nearly three years later.

The biggest reunion of the day was the last. It was also the most private. Around 5 p.m., Abreu snuck away from the pack and saw his young son Darielito for the first time in almost three years.
’It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling,” Abreu said. ‘There’s an excitement and anxiousness in my stomach. I’ve never felt this before, but it’s good. It’s good to be back.’
— Jesse Sanchez

As a writer, you have to try to relate experiences of others to something resembling your own, in an attempt to rationalize it and put it in perspective. And in some cases, like this one, there's just nothing that compares.

2. The Todd Frazier party is getting increasingly crowded.

The annoying influx of bidders who can actually come over the top of the Sox offers pretty easily reminds that Frazier is not a make-or-break element of the offseason. Brett Lawrie gives the Sox a competent third baseman, and reupping Carlos Sanchez would be far from a disaster. It would more serve to create pressure not to just punt shortstop to the glove-only Tyler Saladino.

3. It sounds as if the Tigers budget and presence in the free agent market will be highly dependent on whether Mike Ilitch gets particularly inspired or not:

They probably can’t add another lucrative, long-term deal, especially if they want to sign rightfielder J.D. Martinez to a contract extension. They probably won’t exceed the $189-million luxury tax limit, even if Ilitch doesn’t sound too concerned with surpassing it. They probably won’t sign Cespedes.
’It might sound silly,’ Ilitch said Nov. 30. ‘But I don’t care about spending money. I’m supposed to be a good boy and not go over (the luxury-tax limit). But if I think there are certain players that could help us a lot, I’ll go over it.’
— Anthony Fenech

Note Ilitch reference to "being a good boy" to stay under the luxury-tax limit and remember that this league once had a collusion scandal. But as much as I wish Jerry Reinsdorf had this sort of hardline focus on winning, even an idealized owner might be blinking at a payroll that's already ESTIMATED AT $180 MILLION IF OPTIONS ARE PICKED UP FOR 2018!!! They have $100 million committed that year to Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmerman alone, which is, uh, a lot of pizza money.

There's eventually a ceiling for Detroit's payroll, the only question is whether they'll slow up before they hit or jam on the gas all the way through the crash.

4. This rumor feels it has one or two (or three) too many degrees of separation on it to be really exciting.

Another person heard something could be a possibility. What level of probability do we knock off for every qualifier involved? 10%? Maybe this is just the natural by-product of an organization more effective at being secretive than being good, or maybe it's just flimsy as all get out. For the umpteenth time, while Upton would be a better bet than Cespedes, it would be hard to get down on any action that showed the Sox will be willing to aggressively pursue their competitive window, and even--gasp--take on financial risk to do so.

5. A year ago, Dec. 16, 2014, the White Sox signed Melky Cabrera. The Melk man, now 31 years young, looked completely washed up for the first 11 weeks of the season, including a disturbing loss of in-game power. He countered with a nuclear two months (he hit .346/.387/.563 over one 230 PA stretch of the season), which was only enough to drag his numbers to pedestrian levels before he plateaus and finishes with a disappointing but not terrifying .273/.314/.394.

The Sox signed Cabrera to be not great, but solidly above-average and a steady competent presence at the top of the lineup. Given the black holes they had to and will have to deal with, there's no room to consider Cabrera's weirdness a problem, but he's a concerning case. He's not the worst defender on the club, but contributes to the larger nightmare the Sox position players have inflicted on their pitching staff. He probably would be a lot easier to stand alongside Trayce Thompson and Adam Eaton, than being paired with Avisail Garcia and making Eaton the only average defender in the group. Even with his bat's mid-year recovery, it looks like his ability to hit lefties might be leaving him with age, and the Sox totally do not currently have the personnel to take those at-bats off his hands.

A full return to form certainly wouldn't be shocking, but its a bit disconcerting to see how much the Sox kind of have to depend on it.