Yoan Moncada arrived with so much fanfare Wednesday that it was easy to forget another Cuban who plays for the Chicago White Sox.
You do remember Jose Abreu, don’t you?
Fans cheered Moncada when he came out for pregame warmups, again when his name was introduced in the Sox lineup, and again when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat.
My goodness, Moncada was cheered when he worked the count to full in the second inning and eventually drew a walk.
The atmosphere was electric for a Sox team that is going to finish with one of the major leagues’ worst records.
Then there was Abreu, who has become an afterthought and possibly will be gone altogether sooner than later.
It was easy to forget that the Sox first baseman still is around until some fans in Sox Park were spotted wearing “Abreu’s Amigos” T-shirts.
Apparently Abreu has a few people who appreciate him, along with others that take him for granted.
For the record, yes, Jose Abreu still is with the Sox.
Another shoe always is ready to drop on the South Side, and hopefully it won’t land on Abreu.
Let’s get something straight: Abreu is more than just a chauffeur, though that’s what he’s mostly known for today.
Abreu is pretty good in the role. He picked up Moncada at O’Hare Airport on Wednesday as flawlessly as he picks up slow rollers.
One theory is that Abreu can’t be the latest Sox player to be traded because he is so valuable as a mentor to fellow Cubans who are expected to become key pieces in the club’s rebuild.
That’s an insult because the truth is if Abreu isn’t traded, it should be because he’s too good a hitter to get rid of.
Of course, Chris Sale was too good a pitcher to be traded and the White Sox sent him to the Red Sox. Jose Quintana also was too good a pitcher to be traded and he was sent to the Cubs.
So, yes, Jose Abreu can be dealt even though he’s on course to be only the fifth player in major-league history to drive in 100-plus runs in each of his first four seasons.
The reason some view Abreu as just another trade chip is he does what he does so quietly, not to mention doing it on some bad Sox teams that have been hard to watch.
Another factor is that Abreu doesn’t do interviews in English, making it difficult for Sox fans to feel like they know him or get close to him.
But if Abreu passes as the strong, sort-of-silent type, that should be a plus rather than minimize what a prolific slugger he has been.
Abreu’s contributions shouldn’t be overlooked just because he goes about his business without mugging for cameras and pursuing microphones.
“He’s a great guy to manage,” Sox manager Ricky Renteria said. “He’s a professional, very even keel. He wants to play every day and shares that with everybody.”
It wouldn’t be surprising if Abreu does his damage for the Sox with even less fanfare in the future, for however long he has one here.
Moncada was the first of a wave of reputed phenoms to arrive on the South Side as the rebuilding process proceeds and push Jose Abreu further in the background, if not out.
“I would like to spend my whole career with this team,” Abreu said, “and to play with (Moncada) my whole career now,”
“Abreu’s Amigos” would like that, too.